Batgirl #3: The Lesson
by Bryan Q. Miller, Dustin Nguyen, Pere Perez (DC Comics, 2011)

Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, one of the best choices by DC Comics in recent years, was abruptly eliminated with the New 52, which rebooted the entire DC line.

Damien Wayne, the annoying son of Bruce Wayne who recently popped into existence and became the worst Robin ever (and who makes an unwelcome appearance in this book) survived the cut.

Who makes these decisions?

The Lesson is Stephanie's third and final collection as Batgirl. She continues to excel in the role, as guided by series writer Bryan Q. Miller, and the book maintains a fun sense of adventure that matches the best of the early Batgirl books.

The stand-alone Klarion tale is weak, and the appearance of Robin is irksome. Otherwise, this book gives a hint of how strong this series could have been. Batgirl, still new in the purplish suit, is stalked, framed for a murder, travels across the ocean for a British team-up, suffers a death for which she feels responsible, has an awkward reunion, makes an unplanned revelation and shows real cunning in dealing with foes who might otherwise be beyond her means. Her friendship with Supergirl blossoms, her partnership with Oracle (Barbara Gordon, pre-miraculous cure of paralysis) and Proxy strengthens, and her repartee with a young Gotham detective develops in new directions. She begins to assemble her own rogues gallery, too, and I would love to see where this all would have gone next.

But then, it's not going anywhere. DC pulled the plug like Fox on Firefly, and fans are left to wonder "what if." Nuts.

Oh, but if you like Batgirl, get this. Get all three volumes from the Bryan Miller series and enjoy what little remains.

review by
Tom Knapp

3 March 2012

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