"War Crimes, Part 1: To the Victor Go the Spoils"
Detective Comics -809 pg00
Detective Comics #809
August 3, 2005
Written by Andersen Gabrych
Cover by Jock
Pencilled by Pete Woods
Inked by Bit
Colored by Jason Wright
Lettering by Rob Leigh
Edited by Nachie Castro, Matt Idelson
Previous Issue Batman Allies Secret Files and Origins 2005
Next Issue Batman #643

In Part 1 of the 4-part weekly shipping "War Crimes," crossing over with BATMAN, the truth about "War Games" is revealed! Now one of Batman's former supporters is out to tear him apart!

Summary of Stephness: Perhaps one of the most iconic images of Steph, unfortunately, is this brutal cover by acclaimed artist Jock. The cover is a grim harbinger of the story to come. Gotham is shocked when a hideously scarred man named Aaron Black reveals that Stephanie Brown, known to have died in War Games, was also the vigilante known as the Spoiler, and even more surprisingly, served briefly as Robin. Dropping yet another bombshell, Black claims that Stephanie's death was unnecessary - that she could have survived, given proper medical attention. A mysterious videotape arrives, completely cleaned of all evidence of origin, containing more hints at a mystery surrounding Stephanie's death. As Batman investigates, he discovers that his old friend Leslie Thompkins has left Gotham, and one of her colleagues at the hospital is murdered in such a way to frame Batman. He finds a partial medical file on Stephanie at the scene. As Batman confronts Black, the Joker appears, wielding a large gun.

Behind the Scenes: This issue twists the knife of Steph's death even more viciously in the hearts of fans. The cover would become an iconic image of Steph's failure, or perhaps the fact that DC failed her. Her time as part of the legend was tainted by this final image, bloody, brutalized, a victim - something fans of Steph knew she never was. Furthermore, the very title of the issue - "To the Victor Go the Spoils" is a riff on Steph's identity as Spoiler - but also, as Gabrych uses the traditional phrase, he inverts one of Steph's greatest lines in her original appearance in Detective Comics #649: "To the Spoiler belongs the victory."

It would be four long years before a cover came along to replace this one in the minds of fans as one representing Steph's legacy.

Other Formats/Collected In:
Digital Comic Book
Batman: War Crimes TPB
Batman: War Games, Book Two TPB

Warning: Images are graphic.

  • Detective comics 809 page 7
  • Detective comics 809 page 8
  • Detective comics 809 page 12
  • Detective comics 809 page 14
  • Detective comics 809 page 16
  • Detective comics 809 page 19
  • Detective comics 809 page 20
  • Detective comics 809 page 21
  • Detective comics 809 page 23
  • Detective comics 809 page 26
  • Detective comics 809 page 29