|"Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batgirl"|
|Bruce Wayne - The Road Home: Batgirl #1|
|October 13, 2010|
|Written by||Bryan Q. Miller|
|Cover by||Shane Davis, Barbara Ciardo|
|Interior Art by||Pere Perez|
|Colored by||Guy Major|
|Lettering by||Shane Davis|
|Edited by||Sean Ryan, Mike Marts|
|Previous Issue||Batgirl #14|
|Next Issue||Batgirl #15, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Oracle|
Summary of Stephness: Beginning in a flashback, Bruce Wayne remembers that Stephanie was always a “variable [he] could never control” and the flashback is of Stephanie as Spoiler arguing with Batman about not being able to tag along to fight crime with him and Robin.
In the present at the Waynetech Research and Development facility, Proxy tells Steph that she is a “wrong place, right time” kind of girl as Steph watches a mysterious intruder (who we are to assume is Bruce Wayne) take down some employees. Steph jumps in almost instantly as Bruce shoots at her with heated laser beams. As they fight, Bruce notes that she is a lot like Dick Grayson in the sense that she does not cease moving. To “up the test” Bruce activates the Green Lantern function of his suit and blasts Steph, then goes invisible. Steph assumes she is fighting Amazo or something but Oracle assures her she is not. Steph figures out where exactly invisible Bruce is and shoots him, nicknaming him “Casper,” for the time being. Bruce uses the super-speed function on his suit and leaves. He watches Steph leave from the second floor landing and is thoroughly impressed by her.
The next day, Babs and Steph discuss the mysterious intruder “Casper” and Babs considers getting the Birds of Prey involved. This excites Steph greatly as she assumes this means a team-up (“Well it’s about time! ‘The Birds and Batgirl,’ ‘Batgirl and the Birds’!”) but Barbara dismisses this idea and makes Steph promise she will stay out of this mess for the time being.
But instead of following Barbara’s orders, later Steph (with the help of Proxy) tracks “Casper” using her suit to emit an electromagnetic interference and hopefully figure out where he is hiding out. Steph comes across the plans for what “Casper” was going to use the weaponry stolen at the Waynetech center for. It becomes apparent that this guy wants to shoot someone for some reason. Proxy wonders what Bruce Wayne’s company has anything to do with Crime Alley and Steph contemplates on whether she is only doing this to prove something to Bruce (or the memory of) and she remembers that he never gave her a fair chance. Her thoughts are interrupted by a bunch of thugs (probably hired by “Casper” or Bruce) and she takes them out with ease. Bruce, watching from elsewhere, notes that she is able to hold her own in a fight, and that there is “a pattern in her chaos.”
Steph rushes to the conference where the gun will be shot and Steph figures out that because this special gun can pass through walls, that the shooter doesn’t even have to be in the crowd. Steph finds out via Proxy that the shooter is viewing through a camera nearby and she rushes to find the viewer.
Steph finds “Casper” with the gun and confronts him and demands to know why everything was so easy to figure out, as nothing quite lines up. “Casper” reveals that he is Bruce Wayne and tells Steph that she had done an admirable job on his little ‘test.’ But before he can even finish his sentence Steph slaps him across the face, and in shock of what she did, freaks out and rushes out of there.
In other parts, Vicki Vale catches up with Barbara and insists that she knows everything about the Bats, and particularly that she knows Barbara is a former Batgirl and that Dick Grayson a former Robin. Babs of course denies everything, insisting that the Wayne’s are just family friends. Vicki leaves and Barbara uses a device to see all the information that Vicki does really know.
Later, Steph and Bruce are on a rooftop. Steph apologizes to Bruce about slapping him but says that she needs to get some things off her chest. She tells him that this time around, her new life, that it is the first time she’s ever done anything like this for herself (“Being Batgirl is the first time in my life I’m doing things because I want to. Because I think they’re the right thing to do.”) and she tells Bruce that she outright refuses to give up being Batgirl, no matter what he says. She defends Oracle and tells him not to blame her at all. Bruce gets close to Steph and asks her if being Batgirl is what she really, truly wants and Steph does.
Later that night, Bruce meets with Alfred in an alley. Alfred asks Bruce if he will let Steph continue to “do her thing,” to which Bruce says yes but he wants to keep a watchful eye on both her and Wendy, as they are daughters of criminals. Alfred defends Stephanie and tells Bruce blatantly that Steph never really needed to be tested, but Bruce defends his actions, saying that no, he didn’t need to test her, but she needed the test. Alfred also confronts Bruce about Cassandra Cain, the previous Batgirl, and why hasn’t he searched or even asked after her? Bruce states that he knows exactly where she is and that Tim Drake has been in contact with her. That if anything bad happened to Bruce, Cass knew what to do. Alfred wonders if part of that was giving Steph the cowl and Bruce says “It’s like I said, Alfred…because Stephanie needed the test….and everyone deserves a second chance.”
Other Formats/Collected In:
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home Digital Collection
Batman: Bruce Wayne - The Road Home TPB
Behind the Scenes: Bryan Q. Miller wrote a bit of analysis behind his writing for Steph here.