"Chapter Two: Duplicity"
Batman family 2 cover
Batman: Family #2
November 6, 2002
Written by John Francis Moore
Cover by Stefano Gaudiano, Rick Hoberg, Heroic Age
Pencilled by Stefano Gaudiano
Inked by Rick Hoberg
Colored by Carla Feeny, Heroic Age
Lettering by John E. Workman Jr.
Edited by Matt Idelson, Nachie Castro
Previous Issue Young Justice #49
Next Issue Nightwing #75

Tim: "So we didn't get to finish out earlier conversation. You know Batman keeps everyone at arm's length. Don't take it personally."

Steph: "No, I'm cool with that. He's got to be the Man of Mystery. That's his thing. I'm just thinking I can't sit around and wait for him to invite me to the Big Bat party. I need to strike out on my own."

Meet Athena, the mysterious leader of the new wave of criminals who vows vengeance on Batman for very personal reasons. She begins her assault by targeting the Spoiler who recently lost her gig as a member of BIRDS OF PREY. Will Spoiler prove to be the weak link in Batman's family?

Summary of Stephness: Athena, a crafty old woman wanting to to take over Gotham's criminal element, and take out Batman, goes through Batman's various allies, and deduces that Spoiler is the most inexperienced. Stephanie, meanwhile, is taking out a gang of college students trying to do an armed robbery of a convenience store. She easily wins the fight, and on the rooftop meets Freeway, who unbeknownst to Steph is a member of Athena's game. Freeway tells a skeptical Stephanie that his client wants her services, and gives her his card. When Steph goes home, she receives a phone call from Tim, who congratulates her on her righteous beat down of the college students he spotted on the news. Stephanie ponders to him about why Batman has disappeared and what he thinks of her, but is interrupted by her mother, who once again expresses her disapproval of Steph's vigilante activities. Stephanie replies that she can handle it.

Stephanie decides to take Athena up on her offer, and an actor hired by Athena poses as the woman in need, who tells her that the Ruvaclava mob killed her friend. Their accountant is about to leave the country, and that she needs his testimony to dismantle the organization. Steph is skeptical, but sympathetic. She calls Tim whilst he is investigating in the morgue, and he attempts to comfort her about Batman, but she decides she needs to strike out on her own.

Stephanie finds the man on a boat, and easily overpowers him. But the man has hired a female bodyguard. Stephanie rips the woman's blonde wig off, revealing her to have short black hair, which Steph recognizes, and the bodyguard throws Stephanie overboard.

Stephanie is not deterred however, and finds the man getting a key to his safe deposit box at the airport. She entangles the bodyguard's ankles with a rope and announces she's figured out the bodyguard is Catwoman, Selina Kyle, in disguise. An old lady bystander pulls a machine gun out, an assassin sent by the mob for the accountant. Spoiler quickly dispatches her but the accountant picks up the gun, ranting about women "always walking all over me with their high heels!" Only to be beaned in the back of the head by Catwoman, who quips, "I think you have some issues with women, Louis." Selina tells a bemused Steph she's free to take credit and arrest the criminals, but Selina is taking the key to the man's bank accounts.

The actress hired by Athena congratulates our heroine and offers her some money. Stephanie refuses saying "That's not why I do this." But the woman firmly insists, saying Spoiler can use it to continue her crime fighting. Athena, watching on video, reflects on how furious Spoiler would be if she knew she was helping a criminal by taking out the competition.

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