The last Stephanie Batgirl: Issue #24 Play-by-Play

August 10th, 2011 by |

Ah, it’s been a tumultuous two years.  Lets have a look at how it all turned out.

Last we saw, Stephanie was battling a cult of technologically-advanced criminals who got stiffed by their employer and started a riot in Blackgate prison trying to kill that employer.  That employer turned out to be Stephanie’s not-dead father, Cluemaster.

To start the issue, Stephanie and Cluemaster trade, “You were supposed to be dead”s, although I forget if Cluemaster actually is supposed to be or not.  It seems her father tried to stay away from the prison planet in the ‘Salvation Run’ storyline in prison, and we have, in the space of two sentences, crossed oceans of confusing continuity.  Suffice it to say, he wanted to see her and this was the way he knew how.

“I meant well, Stephanie,” he says.  “Paving the road to hell is what Browns do!”

Okay, that is a good line.  Give him credit for that.

He then pulls out ‘Black Mercy’ roses, which he says allow him to focus on the way he wants his life to go.  Stephanie seems really shocked by these roses.  I didn’t even know they existed until I saw them a page ago.  Can somebody fill in this continuity for me?

He throws pollen or ground up rose or something in her face, and goes off, saying, “Wonder what your mother is up to these days.”

She shoots a batarang at him, and it embeds itself uselessly in the wall.  He gloats, only to have it explode and trap him in goop.  Gooperangs for the win!

Next thing Stephanie knows, she wakes up in the hospital, with her mother sitting next to the bed and her mask on.

“Thoughtful of you to keep my mask on.”

“Hospital policy.”

“Since when.”

“Since I admitted you.”

All right!  The mom comes through!  And more so when, after a brief talk, she tells Stephanie, “I’m proud of you!”


Even better, a whole crowd of kids come through a door, happily shouting that ‘Batgirl’s awake!’  I’m not sure how kids knew she was there, and honestly I don’t care.  When Stephanie looks out the window, she sees Damian standing guard.  They make eye contact, and he gives her a little salute.

That morning, she and Barbara talk about how they saved each other, respect each other, and now like each other.  Stephanie thinks about the things she dreamed when she was under . . . rose pollen.   A lot of Batgirl kicking ass, her and other female heroes dressed in fantasy costumes fighting a dragon, her as a Blue Lantern, Damian as a Red Lantern, and Babs as a Green Lantern fighting off bad guys, her and Cass as Blackhawks, her fighting off people on her graduation day from college, her as a mom to a young kid, and her in a futuristic city fighting crime with another Batgirl.

“It got me thinking about something my dad said about ignoring regret and focusing on the future. . . . Regardless of all the places I’ve been and the places I’ve yet to go, right here, right now, this moment is mine.  Today . . . I’m happy.”

Babs:  “That’s my girl.  Pollyanna to the very end.”

Stephanie: *winking at the viewer*  “It’s only the end if you want it to be.”


What?  I cried!  I’m not a monster!


Random Irrelevant Detail:  A rose theme is worked into all of the fantasy scenes.

Suckiness Advisory Warning:  Well.  I mean.  The series is cancelled, so.  That sucks.  It also shows that the series was cancelled with little warning.  It shows that all the books this month had to scramble to finish up whatever story they were in the middle of.  It’s a shame, but there seems to be some good stuff coming up, which brings us to –

Overall Awesomeness Level:  Babs is a huge favorite character, and although I’ve said and I believe that she’s more interesting and unique as Oracle, I can’t resist her as Batgirl.  And as for Steph . . . I’ve got plenty of ideas as to how she can fit in with the New DCU.  I’ll email them to DC.  They’re looking for female creators, right?

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11 comments to “The last Stephanie Batgirl: Issue #24 Play-by-Play”

  1. “What? I cried! I’m not a monster!”

    Haha. Nice review.

    I actually didn’t know anything about the newest wearer of the mantle until the SDCC Batgirl got people buzzing. Since then, and with the impending cancellation of the series on the horizon, I’ve seen a nice outpouring of support for the character, and I’ve learned various things about her.

    Though Barbara did indeed rock as Oracle, she’s always been Batgirl to me, and I’ve been quietly waiting since the day that Alan Moore handicapped her to see her wearing the cape and cowl again.


  2. The Black Mercy roses are from an old Superman story originally. About his birthday which has Mongul (big yellow alien dude) who suckers Big Blue and taking them. There is a pretty good JLU episode based on the issue…

  3. He then pulls out ‘Black Mercy’ roses, which he says allow him to focus on the way he wants his life to go. […] Can somebody fill in this continuity for me?

    Black Mercies are some sort of intergalactic rose that attaches to a person, being a parasite, and slowly feeds off of them while locking the host in a fantasy world that’s SUPPOSED to be your greatest desire or something similar (I think the only times we’ve seen it become an ongoing thing it’s gone horrendously awry for the person in the coma. Or maybe that was just Superman.)

    They were doing SOMETHING with them in Green Lantern a little ago but that plot thread just vanished altogether.

  4. The last time they used the Black Mercy was in Green Lantern Corps where they introduced Mother Mercy, the queen creature that created the plants. It gave us an origin story and a thing where she qualified to both the green ring and yellow ring. In the end, she decided on the green ring and hasn’t been seen since.

  5. @LurkerWithout: Huh. I just saw the JLU episode about that issue, where it was a big tentacle creature, not a rose.
    And if it feeds off the person, how does Cluemaster come in and out of it at will? I thought even Superman had a hard time doing that. The answers just lead to more questions!

  6. @Gavok: Green Lantern continuity gets weirder every time I look at it.

  7. In the comics the roses attach to the victim with vine/tentacles, much like the cartoon. By cutting the roses and grinding them into a powder, he’s getting the hallucinations without getting attacked/attached to the parasite.

  8. And so ends the tale of Stephanie Brown, Batgirl. She will be missed.

    A very special thanks to you as well, Esther, for these play-by-plays, as without them, I doubt very much I would have gotten to enjoy what was for a time my favorite comic in the stands.

  9. @Space Jawa: Thank you! What a nice compliment!

    @Bazor: And thanks for the info.

  10. Black Mercy came up at the end of Gail Simone’s run on The All-New Atom, where Ryan Choi dreamed of being a respected professor and had three women (Giganta, Wonder Woman and one other) fawning for him. I think the exact quote was, “Ryan Choi for the win at life!” Good times.

    Also, “For The Man Who Has Everything” is required reading. Nice take from Alan Moore on what Krypton may have been like had it not blown up, even if Kal was hallucinating it. The adaptation on JLU was good but watered down . . . though the site of a young Bruce Wayne cheering on his dad beating the shit out of Joe Chill, while grown-up Batman smiles, was kinda awesome.

  11. This series would have been perfect if the writer had not completely and utterly ignored the previous Batgirl. I didn’t care that Cass was no longer Batgirl. After her series ended, she should never have returned to the mantle. But oh well. In this Batgirl series, we only saw Cass and one mention of her at the beginning. The huge omission of a minority character kept me from buying this book in good conscience, no matter how delightful it could be. However, If I had known not supporting this book would have given DC more reason to get rid of another minority character (Oracle), I would’ve bought every StephBatgirl issue. The reason I didn’t was because I wasn’t comfortable buying another blonde superheroine in place of another poc character. They should have just created another character or at least had a few more cameos of Cass. Barbara was around for Cass’s book. Nobody complained then. Miller’s book wasn’t a completely bad book either, better than many others being published right now, but the lack of Cass or even a mention of her was very blatant and one had to wonder, is it really that bad if Cass was mentioned? What could it hurt? Not mentioning Cass (when she was mentioned every once in a while in Red Robin) just looked bad. To me that was a pretty big flaw to the series that just couldn’t be ignored.

    I just couldn’t believe DC could get worse though. That makes it two minority characters we’ve lost to the Batgirl series in recent years. Cass was ignored and now we’re losing Oracle who was always my disabled friend’s favorite character. I keep forgetting how little we minority fans count. If that weren’t bad enough, sorry Babsgirl fans, but I’m completely opposed to changing that grown up character who had become defined by her intelligence to a character now defined by what she can do on her legs while she wears another guy’s symbol. I just don’t find it cute and I hope it doesn’t last. I’m sure Gail can write up a wonderful book about a very smart batgirl, but it wont’ have the same value. I just don’t think it was worth the sacrifice of the previous characters before it. My unpopular opinion, I guess.