Batgirl: The Lesson by Bryan Q. Miller, Dustin Nguyen and Pere Perez (among other people)
Just this once I kind of read something in chronological order. The Lesson follows the Flood, although I think there was one story in between them. Either way, that was a nice change.
Like most graphic novels that are also comics, there are a few stories in here. The big, awesome one has Batgirl battling a secret society of college students called the Reapers. As far as villains go, they aren’t bad – an appropriate level of evil I’d say without being so crazy they become laughable (as some Batman villains occasionally do). They start by pissing off Stephanie when they murder a fellow student she was trying to protect and then frame her for his death. Luckily she’s got her little band of … wait no she doesn’t. Oracle is struggling with some person stuff (don’t know what) as well as working on a super secret project for Bruce so she’s not around, Proxy is taking Oracle’s place but also struggling with her own feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, her physical disadvantage and the fact that she’s chatting with her dead brother’s ghost constantly. Detective Gage has got her back, sorta, but this case is really personal for him so he’s not always making the right decisions.
Even with everyone around her having personal crisii (crisises? crisis?) Stephanie kicks some serious butt thanks to a recent grant from Batman Inc/Bruce Wayne that lets her build her own tech (and get her own car), solve the mystery of who’s orchestrating everything (SPOILER (no pun intended): It’s her not-dead-but-very-crazy father) and not die, despite the best efforts of the mastermind. Her mom even figures it out and is okay with it. Happy endings for all!
The other smaller stories were fun too, but you know… smaller and not as complicated and kind of… dumber than that one. One, my favourite, featured Damian which was wonderful because I do love me some Batboys, and ended with Stephanie’s genuine attempts to reach him and teach him how to play (and his tiny wee guest appearance at the end was my favourite part). The one where Stephanie travels back in time with the witchboy so he can find a lady friend for his werecat was only really redeemed by Stephanie’s adorable internal dialogue. Of course, there had to be a crossover, in which Stephanie heads to London, England to meet up with Batman, gets picked up by Squire and ends up, on her way to meet Bruce, having to save the world. It was a cute story but the highlight was Batman’s one frame cameo, so I don’t know what that says about things over all.
Stephanie is kind of adorable. I don’t know why, I was a little afraid she’d either end up being kind of useless, like the Batgirl from the cartoons in the 90s or a lame copy of Barbara or a variation on the irritatingly perfect Wonderwoman. She’s none of those things and that’ll teach me to have no faith in comic book writers.
Last movie I watched: Still none
Last TV episode I watched: Batgirl Returns from the 90s Batman cartoon. She was kind of dumb and useless, but no more so than Robin, so I guess that’s something.