|"The Lesson: Grass Before the Scythe, one of two"|
|November 10, 2010|
|Written by||Bryan Q. Miller|
|Cover by||Dustin Nguyen|
|Pencilled by||Dustin Nguyen|
|Inked by||Derek Fridolfs|
|Colored by||Guy Major|
|Lettering by||Sal Cipriano|
|Edited by||Sean Ryan|
|Previous Issue||Bruce Wayne - The Road Home: Batgirl #1|
|Next Issue||Batgirl #16|
It’s a new year and a new look for Batgirl as superstar artist Dustin Nguyen (DETECTIVE COMICS) joins the creative team! The unsinkable Stephanie Brown’s second semester at Gotham U. starts like any other – new classes, new allies, a vigilante stalker – everything a gal could want! But what Gotham City’s Batgirl isn’t prepared for is the arrival of the mysterious “Order of the Scythe.” Who are they, and why have they set their sights on her? “The Lesson” begins here!
Summary of Stephness: Steph opens by recapping the history of the Bat Family through cutesy doodles for Wendy to understand. Steph is still doodling at her study group, where she forgot to bring her portion of the assignment. Her group complains about how undependable she is and Steph sees where they are coming from (“What do I bring? Besides my sunny disposition. And donuts.”) but as she sees Newton, the nerdy science major that Kara and Steph helped save (Batgirl #14), Steph is reminded of something she is good at...
Outside Newton is being chased and surrounded by mysterious cloaked figures. They are telling him to “pay the toll” and “join or die,” as Newton grasps something tightly round his neck, terrified until Batgirl shows up. She hones her detective skills by at least guessing each of the clocked figures’ majors based on what they are quoting, until Oracle chimes in for the first time in a long while. Stephanie understands Barbara’s absence from the other side of the line what with Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham and a crisis with the Birds of Prey. But before they can catch up properly, a strange man in costume calling himself the “Grey Ghost” shows up, claiming to be there to “help” Batgirl out. Oracle does a voice print on him and discovers that it is Johnny C or Clancy Johnson, the same guy Steph stopped from bombing a train (he was released from prison due to mental instability). He disappears in a flash of bright light, telling Steph that they will meet again. Shaking off that strange moment, Steph gets Babs to track where Newton is via satellite. Newton is found at the other side of campus, still clutching the flash drive tightly round his neck. The cloaked figures demand that he give them what they want but Newton holds his ground. The cloaked figures kill him cold blood.
The next morning Detective Gage is examining his records, trying to shake out the mystery surrounding his death. A police officer suggests suicide but Gage knows better. Barbara decides to give Gage a bit of a hint by letting him know that there were “guys in robes” involved. Gage decides to investigate further just as his crew finds a blood-covered batarang. Hmm.
At Stephanie’s house, she and her mother are discussing college life and its stresses. Her mom suggests maybe they should move but Steph quickly vetoes that idea, saying that she finally feels accepted in college and that it is one of the best decisions she has ever made (“I feel in control of my life for the first time in a really long time.”) even though she really just wants to stay in Gotham to remain being Batgirl.
Wendy points this out later at Firewall as Steph swings through Gotham, seeing the Bat Signal. Steph knows it is not for her but decides to check out the scene anyway. Oracle suddenly demands that Steph returns to home base but Steph is confused as to why, until the Gotham City Police Department corners her on a rooftop, telling her she is under arrest for the murder of Newton Flitwik.