As the final installment of "The Flood," a four-part story that has been running through "Batgirl," this issue is also the finale of the uber-arc, "Batgirl Rising," which serves to reinstate the Batgirl name and Stephanie Brown, in particular, as a member of the Bat-family.
I've been with this book since the start, which, admittedly is only twelve issues, but I've enjoyed it quite a bit along the way. The best part, to me, is the fact that I can finish an issue and flip it over to my twelve-year-old daughter who enjoys it almost as much as I do. This book isn't going to provide deep, insightful metatextual reinterpretations of the world today; It's straight-forward superhero adventuring, with a vivacious lead character who is not defined by her boyfriend, father, or enemy, but rather by herself.
Miller recently spoke with Kevin Mahadeo about what it took to get the book this far. Over the course of the conversation, Miller offered some clues of what's coming up, including a more significant tie to the rest of the DC Universe now that Batgirl has established who she is.
Miller helped Steph grow a bit by taking Oracle off the map for this storyline. This was extremely well-timed as Oracle's role in the DC Universe is expanding back to what it once was with the re-emergence of the "Birds of Prey" book by Gail Simone. Oracle won't be leaving a void in this title like she did in the DC Universe during the time there was no "Birds" title. She's put a plan in place that has a solid future.
The art on this book has always been good, and this issue was a little rougher than usual, but Pere Perez and Lee Garbett's work melded nicely. The book looks better when Garbett handles the whole thing, but I'd also rather this title keep its monthly pace as opposed to being creatively hamstrung. Walden Wong's inks over Garbett's pencils makes for richer contrast and, as we all know, Batbooks thrive on contrast.
This issue may be a little bit dense as a first issue for some, but this issue is the one where the training wheels come off the Bat-bike and the kid begins to ride solo. Miller, Garbett, and crew have proven that Stephanie Brown is worthy of a cowl, and this creative team is more than up to the task of chronicling Steph's adventures.
I can't help but compare this title to "Nightwing" back when it started. Many people pooh-poohed that title, but it wound up finding an audience that became rabid enough to stave off Dick Grayson's intended demise. The title was just enough of a Batbook to matter, but strong enough to not use its Batness as a crutch. The same holds true here. If this title runs for half the duration "Nightwing" enjoyed, then there are some fantastic stories yet to come.