While reading this story that is a part of the larger Return of Bruce Wayne story I had an odd thought. Was Bryan Q. miller trying to make a statement? The Fangirl cry for a Stephanie Brown case memorial in the Batcave was the rallying point of a much larger concern with the treatment of female characters. Stephanie was the first female Robin. She ends up tortured and then murdered. Yes, they retroactively brought her back and covered the whole mess up in a comicbook cliché way. The bosses and creators from that period have sarcastically mentioned and very crudely talked about those wasting energy over the Death of Stephanie. It has been a poorly executed meeting of corporate company and the fans that buy the product. I just wonder if Miller is telling us he gets it and his Batgirl will treat Stephanie as a character to be respected. That has been the tone in the series so far and it certainly is a strong tone here in this one-shot.
Stephanie Brown as Batgirl has been a wonderful story to see unfold. I have been reading the regular series since the beginning. Batgirl is one of my enjoyable reads. I make sure I savor it. Sometimes I read it first and others I leave it to the end of the pile when I have slowed down my devouring of the stack of books. It is one that I would hold on to if I had to start purging the pull list at the local shop. From her costume to the witty thoughts and dialogue she has I just love this character. She is very much like the kids I work with, slightly scattered, but so good hearted. Each issue of her book has been a slow build of how the characters that knew her as Spoiler are seeing the growth of this amazing young crime fighter.
She does something in this issue I have seen Black Canary do and that is slap Bruce. It was just a well written scene. Stephanie responds with shock at herself as she realizes she just slapped Batman. It was deserved though. Bruce has always treated her so hard and with an edge he never had with any of the others. I even feel he treated Huntress better. To see Stephanie stand her ground against him is wonderful. It also is why I wonder if Miller is signaling something to Steph’s fanbase. A promise maybe that as long as he is in control the girl will be the hero we love and treated as a true part of the Batfamily and the DCU.
I know I have rambled for a bit. The thing I guess I will leave you with is that this book and the next Issue of Batgirl, number 15 are great jumping on points for a reader to try Batgirl out. Stephanie is worth a read for a true fan of comicbook stories. So try out Batgirl #15 and this book as well.