"It's only the end if you want it to be.
Here we go." - Stephanie Brown, Batgirl
|August 10, 2011|
|Written by||Bryan Q. Miller|
|Cover by||Dustin Nguyen|
|Interior Art by||Pere Perez|
|Colored by||Guy Major|
|Lettering by||Dave Sharpe|
|Edited by||Katie Kubert, Janelle Asselin|
|Previous Issue||Batgirl #23|
|Next Issue||Convergence: Batgirl #1|
Stephanie Brown has done her best to put her past behind her, but as the Repears' mysterious client stands revealed, Batgirl's going to learn the hard way that those who fail history are doomed to repeat it. This issue has it all: Secrets unearthed! Alliances broken! Splash pages!
Summary of Stephness: Continuing seconds after the last issue, Steph questions her dad on his resurrection, though he points out she also died. Father and daughter fight, Arthur Brown telling Stephanie he came back for her - first to avenge her in War Crimes, then to observe her career as Batgirl.
Arthur reveals that he's been growing Black Mercy, which he's been using to plan his life. Steph is horrified, and he blows some crushed petals in her face, bringing Steph's career as Batgirl full circle to the Thrill weaponized hallucinogen. As Arthur leaves, saying he's making her a better Batgirl, and might visit Crystal, she throws a Batarang at him. Though he says "You missed," she has launched a goop-er-ang which sticks him to the wall. As she blacks out, Steph says, "So sorry to spoil your fun."
Steph wakes up in the hospital, with her mask on, and her mother sitting at her side. Her mother says her super-team-mates from last issue brought her in, and Dr. Mid-Nite recommended a blood transfusion. Crystal reveals that she knows Stephanie is Batgirl, and though initially angry, is very proud of her, and mother and daughter embrace.
Back in uniform, Batgirl meets Nell and several other kids who were waiting for her to wake up. They tell her that just like Steph never gives up on Gotham, they never give up on her. Through the hospital window, Robin (Damian Wayne) salutes her.
Just before sunrise, Batgirl and Oracle sit on a rooftop together, drinking coffee and eating waffles. Barbara tells Steph that she was worried, and that she saved her. Steph counters that Babs saved her. Telling Steph that she started coming out of the coma before the transfusion kicked in, Babs asks Steph what she saw. Steph says, "You know, stuff." But we see it all:
A vision of Team Batgirl, fighting crime as usual.
Steph, Star Girl, Kara, and M'gann, fighting in a castle fantasy world together (wearing floofy dresses!)
Blue Lantern Steph, Red Lantern Damian, and Green Lantern Babs fight Black Lanterns.
Steph, Babs, and Cass, all as Batgirl, fight crime with the Blackhawks in World War II.
Steph, wearing graduation regalia, fights the Playing Cards gang.
Short haired Steph puts her son to bed with the Batsignal in the sky.
Knightwing Steph and Batgirl Nell leap joyfully into the fray together.
All of these visions have the Black Mercy flowers woven into their texture, showing their fantastical, seductive nature.
Steph tells Babs that her dad got something a little bit right - to ignore regret and focus on the future, though Steph says that it's focusing on this moment and making it her own is the true path to redemption. Babs asks why Steph is crying, and she responds that today, she's happy. And the sunrise is purple. Bantering about pollution vs. serendipity, Babs calls her "my girl - Pollyanna to the very end."
Steph winks and responds, "It's only the end if you want it to be."
She swings off into the sunrise, thinking to herself one last time:
"Here we go."
Behind the Scenes: Bryan Q. Miller posted his Director's Cut comments at DC Women Kicking Ass here:
Batgirl #24: the Director’s Cut by Bryan Q. Miller
For those of you who haven’t bought Batgirl #24 yet, what are you waiting for? This issue, the very last with Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, is a wonderful tribute to the Batgirl no one expected. Over the last two years Bryan Q. Miller took Stephanie Brown from a supporting player to leading player and, in my opinion as well as many others, the star of one the best books month in and month out from DC Comics. But as we know, Barbara Gordon is once again Batgirl and Stephanie is no longer going to be wearing the cowl. But before we bid the former “Girl Wonder” goodbye, Miller sketched out what he saw for Stephanie’s future in 7 wonderful splash pages, #12-18, in this final issue. And below you will find Miller’s notes on those issues including more detail on Steph’s future. For those of you haven’t read it, there are spoilers.
PAGE 12 - A general, mission-statement type vision for Steph. Told Pere to go crazy with this one, like he was drawing his own cover to this issue. This is also the first of the many times we’ll see Mercy flowers worked into the fabric of Steph’s visions. Wanna see some panel description? Here you go!
SPLASH. What I’d like to call a “classic” Pere montage page (think the Road Home thug fight or the helicopter page from 23) – Batgirl swinging through the night (or in a swan dive); Batgirl fighting thugs; etc. Basically, a page that in a very movie poster way celebrates everything that’s great about our girl. Heroic. Your own version of the cover to this very issue. If this were the movie poster of what the series has been so far, how would you do it? That’s what this splash is.
PAGE 13 - What Steph envisioned could be possible, were adventures to continue with her Super Friends. Steph’s gal squad from last issue, on an adventure versus the Queen of Fables. PERHAPS… this was going to be an arc in the next run of the series. You know… just MAYBE. Side note: last issue, when the lady-cavalry arrives to lend a hand, Mia-Speedy was originally a part of the gang, but I was then told I could not have access to her. Star Girl stepped up in Mia’s stead.
EXT. STORYBOOK KINGDOM – DAY
SPLASH. The Girls from Issue 23 – Stargirl, Bombshell, Miss Martian, Supergirl and Batgirl – an action scene. They’re in fairy-tale/medieval versions of their costumes, fighting off an onslaught of fairies, non-descript Snow White-style dwarves, etc. Maybe a dragon on its way down from the sky. A Disney-esque castle in the distance. And above it all, Disney-poster style, the QUEEN OF FABLES, looming on the upper gilded edge of the splash.
PAGE 14 - The Blackest Night tie in I never got to write. She knows Blackest Night happened, but didn’t get to participate. If things were to go down, zombie style again, this is how she (and I) would have liked to see things play out. That Ghost fellow Damian beheaded when he first arrived in Gotham would probably have a bone to pick with the Boy Wonder.
EXT. ALLEY – GOTHAM – NIGHT
As arbitrary BLACK LANTERNS edge in from beyond the panel, BLUE LANTERN BATGIRL (blue construct staff), RED LANTERN DAMIAN/ROBIN (with red construct swords, red plasma vomit dribbling from his angry mouth) and GREEN LANTERN ORACLE (Babs suspended in a green construct mech-suit) prepare to fight.
PAGE 15 - Steph never did get to have an adventure with Cass during the pages of the book - this adventure/vision finds Batgirl Steph and Skeets on an adventure through time to find a wayward Booster, joined by Batgirls Babs and Cass.
EXT. WWII AIRFIELD
SPLASH. An end table in a living room. A BLACK MERCY IN A VASE next to a 5 by 7 framed photo – black and white, it’s a WWII-era group shot of the BLACKHAWKS standing proudly in front of a B-17 BOMBER (ZINDA painted on the side). And who’s standing there, arm in arm with the fellas? CASSANDRA CAIN BATGIRL (traditional suit), STEPHANIE BATGIRL & BARBARA BATGIRL (traditional suit)… SKEETS floating nearby. 1944 engraved on the frame.
PAGE 16 - Graduation would have been a huge moment for Steph. The Mercy’s laying it on thicker now, trying to keep Stephanie entranced. Naturally, even in a desirable fantasy (graduating with honors), Stephanie can’t avoid danger. The Royal Flush gang crashes the party. Also, Pere loves his authentic martial arts poses. Because he knows authentic martial arts! Once you read the panel description, you’ll notice that Pere (to great benefit) added Crystal in the bleachers, the only person watching the scene.
INT. GOTHAM U. SPORTS COMPLEX
SPLASH. STEPHANIE AT HER COLLEGE GRADUATION – she’s in her cap and gown, striking a hero’s pose as THE ROYAL FLUSH GANG comes crashing in through the windows. Graduates, the Dean, etc. go running for cover.
PAGE 17 - The Mercy’s vice-like grip on Steph’s mind tightens, pulling out all the stops - married (though the husband is noticeably absent - away on business… or something more tragic? The lack of a specific husband speaks to Steph not defining happiness by any one man.) with child. She didn’t have the proper chance to know her child the first time around, so this is a HIGHLY desirable situation for Stephanie. And apparently, city-murdering Prometheus is being celebrated on the child’s wall. Maybe there was a reboot. HI-YO!
INT. CHILD’S BEDROOM – HIGH-RISE APARTMENT - NIGHT
SPLASH. BACKGROUND: Floor-to ceiling windows look out over the perpetually pinkish-purple night sky of Neo-Gotham (ref. Batman Beyond). The BAT SIGNAL slices up through the sky. FOREGROUND: ADULT STEPHANIE (35, shorter hair – maybe use the Carey Mulligan cut below as ref.). She’s a hot mom, putting an adorable RAVEN-HAIRED BOY to bed. He’s maybe 5. A few futuristic looking toys scattered about. Maybe the Wayne-Powers tower in the distance, too. WEDDING BAND ON HER FINGER.
PAGE 18 - Batgirl’s biggest fan, little Nell, is all grown up… now Batgirl proper. Under the watchful eye of Stephanie Brown (aka Knightwing, Agent of Checkmate). This is Stephanie having it all. Education. Family. Heroism. And yet, as she goes on to explain to Babs, it just wasn’t enticing enough to keep her under the Mercy’s spell.
EXT. ROOFTOP – NEO-GOTHAM - NIGHT
SPLASH. ADULT STEPHANIE is in a Beyond-version of NIGHTWING’S SUIT. But instead of the simple blue shoulder/chest design, it’s a glowing, purple one. She’s got a domino mask on, a smile on her face. Purple hard-light Nightwing sticks to match the chest stripe. Same hair as in the child’s bedroom.
And who’s perched beside her? A 25 year-old NELL (that little girl from Issue 17)… in a Beyond-looking BATGIRL SUIT. Have fun with these designs. Let’s maybe color Nell’s suit in the traditional Batgirl grey/blue/yellow. And they’ve got back-up – in the sky behind them, a couple of futuristic CHECKMATE HOVERCRAFT.
Miller also posted about the future visions a bit here: http://bryanqmiller.tumblr.com/post/96181494090/oooh-i-may-be-a-little-late-to-the-party-but-you
"Tim and Steph having twin daughters IS a hella rad idea!
And don’t think I didn’t want to revisit the baby she gave up for adoption (wasn’t allowed to go there).
And the universe in which she grew up into Knightwing (Agent of Checkmate) can’t be THAT alternate, right? I mean, Little Nell is her Batgirl there, so…"