Well, that’s all folks, stick a fork in it, hasta la vista baby. If you haven’t figured out yet, ‘Batgirl’ #24 is the final issue of ‘Batgirl’ in the current DC Universe before the DCnU relaunch. Since I have made no secret of my love for this book over the past two years, I write this review with a bit of sadness, lots of affection and more than a little jealousy.
Sad, because it is ending. Affection, because Stephanie Brown has become Batgirl (Gail Simone, you and Babs have some serious shoes to fill). Jealous, because I wish I had the ability to spin a tale like ‘Batgirl’ scribe, Bryan Q. Miller.
I’m conflicted writing this review, I want to shout out the praises for this issue more than anything. At the same time, I don’t want to spoil the end of ‘Batgirl’. There are some great splash pages in this book -you have to see them (my words cannot do them justice).
This issue, understandably, felt a bit rushed. In ‘Unsinkable’ we had Steph come face to face with her Dad (the villain Cluemaster), who is responsible for sicking the Reapers on her. During their reunion (both are “back” from the dead), Cluemaster show’s he has a not-so-nice gift for his beloved daughter; a bouquet of deadly Black Mercy.
If you don’t know what Black Mercy is, and didn’t want to click on the link, it is a plant that places you in a comatose state living out your greatest dreams. Black Mercy has taken down the likes of Superman and Batman, so our heroine is in big trouble. With her last action before slipping into the Black Mercy’s influence, Steph is able to “Goop” up Cluemaster’s plans.
The next time we see Stephanie Brown she is waking up three days later in a hospital bed. It just so happens to be the same hospital where her mom is a nurse. It also leads to my favorite line in the whole issue: “Thank you… registered nurse I’ve never met”. I mean really? How Peter Parker is that? She is totally caught by her mom, and she still has the wit and sharpness to try and sarcasm her way out of being busted.
We quickly figure out Steph’s mom is on to her, and they have a good chat about her being able to do some good. Steph’s mom then tells her she is proud of her. That is just what Steph needed to hear. Of course her mom isn’t her only fan, as she exits her hospital room she finds a group of kids waiting to give her a big hug, happy she is awake. Oh, and our favorite little psycho foil for Batgirl, Robin (Damian Wayne) gives his one special seal of approval.
This chapter of Batgirl closes out with a heart to heart between Babs and Steph (though it would have been nice to see Cassie Cain pop up at the end to close the circle). We find out that Steph was able to bring herself out of the coma before the Black Mercy spores were completely out of her system, that means she was able to beat the effects of the plant on her own. This is no small feat. When Barbara ask what she saw while she was under, Steph simply replies: “You Know…” and we are then treated to 7 beautiful splash pages of what Stephanie Brown’s life could be. Everything from fighting gnomes to wielding a Blue Lantern Ring to motherhood.
This book ends the only way it would want it to end, with a purple sunrise and Batgirl swinging off to face untold tales of adventure and peril. I’m really going to miss Bryan Q Miller bringing Stephanie Brown to my pull-list every month, because this book has been a great lesson in storytelling, heroics and redemption. If you haven’t had a chance to read this book, the first two Trade Paperbacks are in stores now (‘Batgirl: Rising’ and ‘Batgirl: the Flood’), so check them out.