The BatFamily might be the most well-known example of the found family in all of fiction. Bruce Wayne, billionaire orphan, collecting strays to be his surrogate (and sometimes actual) children. But when the Family is brought up, most of the discussion centers around his sons. Grayson, Jason, Drake, and Damien. His Robins. And while those discussions (and inevitable arguments) are good/needed, I’m not here to talk about the boys. I want to talk about Bruce’s daughters.
Before we begin, I should preface this by saying that I’m not a very big DC fan. I much prefer the other guys. Any misstatements or errors (little as they may be) can be ascribed to that fact. With that out of the way, let’s go.
I did a thing like this once before about Peter Parker’s women, and it’s gonna be a similar thing here. Because this is as much about Bruce as it is his 3 girls. All of them say something about him, both in who they are and in their relationships with him.
First up, Barbara Gordon. The very first Batgirl. She’s as integral to the Family as Grayson (some might say more so after she became Oracle), and here’s where our journey begins. Unlike the other two, Babs didn’t have any extenuating circumstances that led to her being a hero. She’s different from basically every member of the Family in that way. She doesn’t have a tragic backstory or some demons to put to rest. She became Batgirl because she wanted to (and she cracked the Dynamic Duo’s secret). But, like everyone else, she earned her spot, and in doing so, earned Bruce’s trust, becoming the first person besides Grayson to crack that legendary wall. Nowadays, she’s grown beyond the wide-eyed teenager who wore go-go boots for the hell of it. And her relationship with Bruce has similarly evolved. She’s something akin to a confidant to both Bruce and Batman. She can speak her mind to him about almost anything and he listens (mostly). She’s (both literally and symbolically) the first daughter.
Next is the problem child of the group, Stephanie Brown. Steph is unique in that she’s been a Robin, taking over from Tim for a while. That alone shows the level of trust that Bruce has in her. Not just anyone can be a Robin after all. But Steph is where we see the “strict parent” in Bruce. She’s been benched perhaps more times than anyone else in the family, and it’s usually because of her over-eagerness. She has this zeal to prove herself, to Bruce, to everyone else, and perhaps even to herself. And this zeal has led to some legendarily bad outcomes (War Games comes to mind). And Bruce, for his part, was pretty harsh with her. Could be her past (daughter of a villain), and it could be his way of preventing more children from joining his crusade (by the time Steph came around, there had been 4 kids). Either way, dude was nearly unforgiving. And you might say it worked. She’s as much a member of the Family as anyone else, so much as to be trusted by the Bat to run missions on her own, and she even got a costume with a bat (even if I prefer the one without).
Our final stop is my personal favorite. Cassandra Cain. Daughter of assassin David Cain and the Lady Shiva, Cass was raised with no language contact of any kind. Her father taught her, basically from the moment she could stand, to fight. And this led to the creation of perhaps the most perfect fighting machine the DC Universe has ever known. As a result of her “unique” upbringing, she could not speak. But she can read body language like most people read books, and this allows her to essentially predict her opponent’s moves. But the same things that makes her such a kickass fighter also mean that she’s the rawest of all of Bruce’s kids. Despite being 17 when she joined, she was still more-or-less a child, and Bruce knows this. They have the most “father-daughter” relationship of any of his girls, and perhaps any of his children. She is (as far as I’ve seen) the only person he’s allowed to cry on his shoulder, doing so on multiple occasions. And for her part, she is fiercely loyal to him, his ways and methods (more so after her detective training). During the Bruce Wayne: Murderer and Bruce Wayne: Fugitive stories, she was the only person who refused to believe that he’s killed someone, despite mounting evidence that even made Grayson doubt. He is at his most fatherly when Cass is involved, and it is by far the sweetest thing.
The boys usually get the spotlight, and for good reason, but there’s a lot to like (and a lot to love) about Bruce’s daughters.