Saturday, April 18, 2015

Stephanie Brown, you've been missed

Not to "spoil" anything, but Stepahnie Brown is back in the DC Comics Universe. (See what I did there?)

Wait! I just had a great idea! Are we Stephanie Brown fans Brownies? ... Yup, it's official.

Surprisingly, DC Comics mailed me CONVERGENCE BATGIRL No. 1 as part of my subscription to the BATGIRL series, which arrived in the mail Thursday. The front cover by Rick Leonardi, Dan Green and Brian Buccekkato tells the story: This issue features one heroine who wasn't in the New 52 (Brown aka the third Batgirl), a severely underused hero ever since he became known as Red Robin (Tim Drake) and Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl now known as Black Bat, a mix of both situations. Of course, Cassie could have been in the New 52, but I don't remember seeing her. ...

The Convergenc concept brings the together the original DC continuity and the New 52 to creat a new universe. In short, it seems like yet again the DC editors are trying to make sense or create order out of their unnecessarily complicated multi-verse concept -- a problem that has plagued the publisher for years.

How long this will last is anyone's guess. As any experienced comic book reader can tell you, change is the only constant in the industry.

Either way, it's great to see Stephanie again.

Her frankness about who she is, what she isn't and what she can or can't do is a treat I didn't realized I'd missed. Kinda like Stephanie herself.

To answer your question, yes, you did, Catman? Can't a girl reintroduced
to the DC Comics Universe pee in peace?
Her confrontation with Catman (a C-level Batman villain for whom I've always had a soft spot) early in the issue is fun. What better way to throw readers into the Convergence concept than by having two characters interact who'd never done so before and didn't even know the other one existed?

Apparently, Stephanie has been a doctor's assistance and gave up being Batgirl during the New 52. (At least that's the retro-continuity explanation that writer Alisa Kwitney gives us, through Stephanie's words.)

This cosplayer strikes a pose
as the Stephanie Brown version of Batgirl.
Just as the one-time Spoiler gives us some insight about that part of her life, she and the doctor encounter Killer Moth -- a brilliant wink-wink, nudge-nudge homage to the original Batgirl's first appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS No. 359 (January 1967). And like the unexpected delight she is, Stephanie gives Moth a tongue lashing about threatening them. And simply walks away!

You see, Stephanie isn't confident about her fighting skills, much less her abilities as a crimefighter.

She always has made it up as she goes along, so that makes her brief, couple panel interaction with Moth (yet another Golden/Bronze Age villain she'd never encountered) just that much cooler. Kwitney furthers this irony. Just as Red Robin and Black Bat ("trained to master nearly all forms of unarmed combat") are about to give Batgirl a refresher on fighting, she's pullled way and is chosen fight another city's champion. Guess she'll be winging it again ...!

This is where the issue ends. It's unclear whether there will be a second issue in this series; this Brownie would like to read it as I've just gotten to see Stephanie again and I want to see her back in the DC fold on a permanent basis. Regardless, it's a pleasure to see Stephanie again rocking her very cool Batgirl costume.

As I said, I hope she stays around. Can you do that for we Brownies, DC? Grade: B-

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