Writer Bryan Q. Miller‘s run on Batgirl comes to an end. Barbara Gordon may be back in the Batsuit starting next month, but Miller sends out Stephanie Brown out in style with almost everything you’d could ask for. Issue #24 includes a terrific final page that not only neatly wraps up the series, and says goodbye to the character, but also fits so naturally into the tone of a comic that’s been one of DC’s best for two years now.
He even manages to squeeze in a cameo for Damian. I’m just sad he didn’t have 20 extra pages to say goodbye to all of Stephanie’s friends and supporting cast as well.
The issue begins with Batgirl confronting her father, the Cluemaster, who’s been behind the Reapers since the beginning and has transformed the Black Mercy into a weaponized hallucinogen. We see the aftereffects of the drug on Stephanie’s system later (in some terrific full-page panels by Pere Pérez), but not before Miller delivers a heartwarming scene between Steph and her mother who has discovered, and come to terms with, Stephanie’s latest alter-ego.
We get a similar moment between Oracle and Batgirl on the rooftops of Gotham just before dawn reminding us not only how much Stephanie Brown has grown up over the past two years but how much these two characters have grown together during that same period. It’s just one more relationship I’m going to miss after the DC Reboot.
Miller doesn’t sign-off with regret, or anger. He leaves us with a tearful but hopeful Stephanie Brown savoring her moment in the sun. It’s an unbelievably classy exit for a character I couldn’t have cared less about two years ago and now I can’t imagine the DCU without. For rebooting Stephanie Brown into one great character, for giving her such a terrific farewell, and for everything in between, I’ve got to thank Bryan Q. Miller. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of Stephanie Brown; the DCU needs far more characters like her, not less. But if we have, man, what a way to go! Must-read.