Less Batwoman Please, More Cassandra Cain

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Detective Comics #959
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Alvaro Martinez

This is another wonderful issue of the best Batman book on the stands! Alvaro Martinez draws a killer Gotham City. He really knows how to draw the essence of Gotham City’s “beautiful darkness” motif. Tynion IV writes a solid story too as Zatanna joins the ensemble cast. I was sad there were barely any Cassandra Cain moment in this issue but we got to see her smile as Clayface starts to have feelings for the doctor so I guess I can wait for more moments next issue. But please DC – put her in a Batsuit again! I liked learning about Luke Fox’s Foxtech headquarters. Is his identity public knowledge? With Batwoman having her own book now, can’t we have her leave the ensemble cast of this book so we can have more Cassandra Cain moments?

DC’s Best Writer and Best Ongoing Series

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Detective Comics #958
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Alvaro Martinez

This was another incredible issue of DC’s best series. Cassandra Cain takes a break from being the lead now as this story arc focuses on Azrael and takes a look back at his origin, beautifully drawn by Alvaro Martinez. Of course being the Cassandra Cain fan that I am it was Cassandra’s small moments that made me smile. She is learning Shakespeare with Clayface, her understanding that someone who teaches children to kill must be a mother.  Those were great moments. The surprise guest at the end was something I did not see coming and I am glad to see her because she hasn’t been around much in DC Rebirth. Martinez draws a beautiful Gotham City. He needs to stick around. Tynion really loves Gotham City, there are so many easter eggs including naming the basketball stadium Dixon Stadium which has to be an homage to Chuck Dixon whose work on these characters inspired Tynion’s incredible run on this book so far. Tynion is by far the best writer and this is the best book that DC is putting out right now.

 

Detective Comics 954 – 957

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Detective Comics #954
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Marcio Takara

I am not sure how I feel about Takara’s art but this was another magnificent issue. The League of Shadows are about to destroy Gotham City and Jacob Kane says no one could take them on and survive, not even Batman or Batwoman. Then Jacob asks who could? And we get a panel of Cassandra Cain ready to fight!!!! I love you as a writer James Tynion IV. I screamed with joy at that page.

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Detective Comics #955
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Marcio Takara

This was a fantastic issue filled with badass Cassandra Cain moments standing up to her mother, even declaring that she knews her ability to fight and not kill has to impress her mother even if she says it doesn’t. Tynion IV undestands my favorite character – the best character DC has to offer and I am eating this series up. The final page had me cheering again!

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The Dark Knight Daughter

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Detective Comics #953
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Christian Duce

I recently asked Phil Jimenez on twitter if Linda Danvers could show up in his Superwoman run. His answer made it seem like all of the Rebirth creative teams will be changing soon. I hope he is wrong because DEAR GOD DC DO NOT TAKE TYNION OFF THIS COMIC. He is the best writer of Cassandra Cain in years. The only way I could be okay with that is if they said she gets to be Batgirl again. In this issue, Cassandra has to deal with the revalation of Lady Shiva being her mother. In the flashbacks to her training, Cassandra is able to speak some words. This was not true pre-flashpoint and it bothers me but perhaps it is a key to DC Rebirth and the missing ten years? Maybe she subconsciously remembers learning the language before the timeline change. That would be cool. The cover to this comic is not deceiving, she does fight Batman when he tries to stop her. She even goes as far to reject the name Cassandra because she wants nothing to do with her parents. Who could blame her? This is a character with murderous parents who instinctively knows murder is wrong. But Batman trying to calm her down made me so happy. It was the father-daughter relationship they had in Cassandra’s early days. Before DC stupidly had him abandon her during 52. There was no reason why she couldn’t have gone with them on their trip in 52 or Bruce would have put her in charge of Gotham and not Harvey Dent. It was years ago but I am still pissed about it. Cassandra finally confronts Lady Shiva who challenges her to fight her to the death, she wants to see her daughter try to kill. Cassandra refuses being the one true Batgirl and is beaten unconscious and left in the sewer by her mother. I hope we get to see Cass get her revenge for that soon.

The Real Batgirl Meets Her Mother (Again)

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Detective Comics #952
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Christian Duce

In this issue, Tynion IV once again shows me that this is without a doubt the best comic book DC is publishing. He consistently hits it out of the park with the team dynamics, characterization, and the exploration of what makes this Bat-family tick. Because yes despite what some writers have acted like the bat-family goes way beyond Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne. And as any reader of this blog knows the best bat-family character in my opinion is the one and only Cassandra Cain which this issue so wonderfully focuses on as Cassandra meets her mom Lady Shiva for the first time in this new timeline (or at least in her memory if this erased memory thing turns out to be true) and she is devastated by it. Lady Shiva acts completely evil to her, calling her refusual to kill pathetic, and saying she wish she had never known about what happened to her daughter. It was the final pages of this issue where Cassandra cries and Batman holds her that I knew Tynion understands the father-daughter relationship between these two characters. Like I said, Cassandra is the real Dark Knight Damsel and I hope this moment blooms into him once again adopting Cass in this continuity. Oh and the art is fantastic as usual.

Nightwing 1 – 16

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Nightwing (Volume 4) #1
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Javier Fernandez

How great is it to see Nightwing in that costume again? It’s been what ten years since he wore that beautiful – frankly iconic – Nightwing costume. DC….what were you thinking? He should have been returned to that immediately after he stopped being Batman. Speaking of that, Dick refers to his time as Batman. Does that mean Final Crisis happened in the New 52 universe or is this a result of Rebirth restoring the timeline? Interesting. This was a great start to this series but not exactly a good jumping on point for new readers for a first issue. We aren’t really told what is going on with this Parliament of Owls other than they are forcing Dick to work with them or they think they are and he is playing them. I don’t know much about the Court of Owls because they are a new 52 creation. Anyways, it is still weird to see Barbara Gordon in a Batgirl costume and not Oracle and looking so young. Is she still suppose to be the same age as Dick?  So far…this is good. Seeley seems to really understand Dick Grayson as a character and the art is perfect for a Nightwing book.

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Nightwing (Volume 4) #2
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Javier Fernandez

This was a fantastic comic. I like how Seeley writes Nightwing’s narraration. It isn’t all action, there is depth to this story. I don’t like how the Raptor knows their have been different Robins. That is dumb. The general public in the DCU should not know that. Also, how is Barbara flying to Tokyo and back? Does Bruce bankroll her?

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Batman Rebirth 1 – 17

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Batman (Volume 3) #1
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

In the first issue of this new Batman solo series, Batman prepares to give his life to save a plane full of people that almost crashes into Gotham. Spoiler Alert…he ends up not dying although he prepares to say goodbye to Alfred in a touching scene. The plane is actually saved by two Superheroes calling themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl. The idea of heroes showing up in Gotham with actual powers is an interesting thing. Would this make Batman feel useless? I guess we will see. I enjoyed the art in this. Finch knows how to draw Gotham City and its world well. Also, who is this new Batman protege Duke Thomas? I don’t know anything about

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Batman (Volume 3) #2
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

I love how Duke asks Batman if he trusts these new heroes of Gotham and Gotham Girl, and he says “I don’t even trust Alfred.” That made me smile. I thought this would make Batman jealous to have super powered heroes but I should have known better – Batman is a true hero and wants what is best for Gotham City. These heroes could stop things he cannot stop and he knows that. I loved how the Gotham Man is confused when Batman dissapears when talking to Commissioner Gordon. But who are these two heroes and how do they have powers that are almost Kryptonian in nature? I do not like how skinny Finch draws Amanda Waller. She is way too thin in this. But that is my only complaint about this issue.

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Finally a Writer Who Respects DC’s Greatest Character

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Detective Comics #951
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Christian Duce

Without question this is the best series that DC is putting out right now. And I say that not just because it features Cassandra Cain but because she is now being featured heavily! Last issue she was the focus of the anniversary issue and now she is still a main player in the plot. This should be a regular thing I am used but this fan has missed her so much these last few years they took her away. It is so awesome to have her back and in a beautifully drawn well-written comic book with an amazing cast of characters. In this issue, it seems that the League of Shadows may be real and Lady Shiva (Cassandra’s mom) is part of them. Batman even admits to Batwoman he would lose if he had to face Cassandra Cain in a fight. DAMN! Tynion IV really respects her character and I respect him for it. Now Dc let’s get her in a batsuit ok?

 

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This is it…I am returning to DC after a 5 year absence. Now that DC Rebirth has brought back the original continuity without throwing the New 52…will these characters be the same as the ones I loved. Most of all, for this book, I care about Cassandra Cain. She is my favorite comic book character and in my opinion the one true Batgirl. AND she is finally a regular in a book again. Will this be the same Cassandra I know and love? I know she got reintroduced but is she really just the same character with the memories of her time as Batgirl erased by the evil Dan Didio…I mean Doctor Manhattan. Let’s find out as I explore Detective Comics Rebirth.

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Detective Comics #934
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Eddy Barrows

This was a great jumping back on point for old/new readers. I did not miss a beat. Batman discovers someone is targeting Gotham’s vigilantes and has recruited Batwoman to “train” them. (I do cringe at the idea that Cassandra needs training from Batwoman.) He finally reveals his secret identity to her and they are cousins. I always was annoyed the the Wayne-Kane connection was never explored pre-Flashpoint so I loved this moment. The first of the team we meet is Stephanie Brown former Batgirl and Robin but now back to her Spoiler idenity. The identity she should have remained. I like her, don’t get me wrong, but she should never have been allowed to take the mantle of Batgirl from Cassandra Cain.

After Steph, we see Tim Drake in a new Red Robin costume that evokes his classic Robin costume. Man it is good to see him look like that again. That was an amazing costume.

Finally, we get Cassandra and I love that her new costume evokes her original Batgirl costume but I am sorry it is not enough….she needs to have a bat emblem and be a real Batgirl again someday. As fan, we can’t just give up on that. She now calls herself Orphan. As cool as it is to have her full mask back, I still would prefer her pre-Flashpoint Black Bat identity than “Orphan.” Now besides this, Tynion IV writes her perfectly as the bad ass scary fighter she is but I just wish she could be that way in a Bat costume.

The final member of the team is Clayface which is an odd choice but okay we will see where it goes. Eddy Barrows’s art was beautiful…he has truly stepped up his game in five years and seems perfect for this book.

So ya….CASS IS BACK!

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Detective Comics #935
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Eddy Barrows

In this issue, Batwoman continues the training of the younger vigilantes. Meanwhile, Batman tells Tim he has always been Robin to him. So in this continuity was Tim never officillay Robin? If so, will he remember his time as Robin whenever the missing ten years gets restored or whatever? I sure hope so. I hope the same with the other characters too.

Cassandra is bad ass in this. I love how Steph says he just shows up and gets blood on the floor and is almost never home. We truly are getting old school Cassandra Cain back and I could not be happier…except if she was Batgirl again. That would be better.

Beautiful story and beautiful art. I feel Tynion IV truly gets these characters.

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Red Robin 22-26

red_robin_vol_1_22Red Robin #22
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Freddie Williams II

This was another issue of the Azrael Batman crossover. It was good and for once I wasn’t bothered by Williams’s art for some reason it seemed less cartoony this time around. I don’t quite buy the idea that Tim Drake would not believe in God because he is a member of the Teen Titans he has fought Gods and knows that there is Angel that used to be in the Justice League, etc. I think Nicieza should have said he doesn’t believe in the Christian version of God or something else besides this because it doesn’t work in the DCU.

red_robin_vol_1_23Red Robin #23
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To

I wonder if the scene where Lucius Fox means with a Hong Kong businessman named Lau is a homage to the similar scene in The Dark Knight. It sure seems like it. Anyways, this was a decent issue where Red Robin is lead into a trap and an assassin’s tournament. Tim acts like he has heard of this tournament before and I wonder if it was in this book or in his time as Robin.

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Red Robin #24
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To

I like how Marcus To draws Tim’s Red Robin costume when he is surrounded completely with his cape, which is surprising because I am not a big fan of the costume in general. The ending of this issue actually made this interesting after all as there is an occult angle to this story line that I was not expecting. Also Tim may be forced to impregnate someone but I am sure he gets out of this next issue? Let’s see!

 

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Written by Fabian Nicieza

Art by Marcus To

Tim and Cassandra Cain fighting together again at last! Despite the misleading cover, Tim and Cassandra – now in her new guise as Black Bat – a rather awesome title for her I think. The only thing better would be what she truly is – Batgirl! Anyways, it was great to see the two of them working together. To me and people my age, they are Batgirl and Robin. That being said, Nicieza only briefly mentions Tim going to Hong Kong to help Cass fight Cricket. Which sounds like an awesome villain. Why can’t we see that story instead of what I assume the next issue will be. I bet he originally wanted to include it but it was cut because of the stupid New 52.

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Red Robin #26
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To

In the final issue of this series, Tim sets up a death trap for Captain Boomerang – the man who killed his father, but saves Boomerang at the last second. Batman is disappointed in Red Robin and even though he made the right choice the issue ends on a darker note with a darker Red Robin. I question why they would go in this direction at all? It doesn’t really fit the character although I do think there is room for Tim to kill more than Cassandra Cain whose whole character was about not killing but still…it’s a bit strange.

Batman Incorporated 5-8

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Batman Incorporated #5
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Yanick Paquette

In this issue we are introduced to “The Hood” who I immediately mistook for being Azrael at first and Batwing who is the Batman of Africa. I did not realize it but Bruce and Kate aka Batman and Batwoman had never met before this issue. At least since Kate has become Batwoman. How did I not notice that? Paquette draws a great Batwoman. Anyways, like usual Morrison’s story doesn’t make sense until the very end when the clues will come together. We still don’t know what Doctor Dedalus’s plan is or what exactly Leviathan is but there a ton of interesting clues in this issue. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

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Batman Incorporated #6
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham

Wow Grant Morrison is amazing! Of course the Outsiders would be part of Batman Incorporated! Anyways I loved this issue up until Bruce Wayne tells a group that includes pretty much everyone he cares about that they are his closest associates except Cassandra Cain is not there! But then a few pages later my dreams came true! Cassandra Cain was back with a new identity! She is now the Black Bat – the Batman of Hong Kong! Seriously this is the best thing Grant Morrison has ever wrote. I love the character so much and to see her back in action is incredible. I definitely prefer the Black Bat costume over her present Orphan costume. I sincerely hope Rebirth ends up having Cassandra remember her time as Batgirl and as Black Bat and retaking up the mantle of the bat where she belongs. The best thing about this is it redeems Bryan Q. Miller having Cassandra leave Gotham because Morrison is writing Batman here as trusting Cassandra enough to be her own Batwoman of Hong Kong. She is not a sidekick. She is an equal to him. And that is how it should be. Best issue of this series hands down.

Batman Incorporated #7
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham

This issue focused on Man-of-Bats and his sidekick Little Raven and I expected it to be dull as shit but I was pleasantly blown away. First of all, Burnham’s art is gorgeous. Second of all, Morrison wrote a really inspiring story about a hero standing up for his community on a low budget. It was really good.

 

 


Batman_Incorporated_Vol_1_8Batman Incorporated #8

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Scott Clark

This issue is one of those brilliant Duh comic books that you think wow that’s genius but why hasn’t somebody already of that. There is no reason why this couldn’t be a whole series of virtual Barbara Gordon fighting. We didn’t need to stop her from being Oracle to see her in action. This issue even makes more sense today with virtual reality. I say make Cassandra Cain a bat again and put Barbara back as Oracle and if you need to have her in action use this virtual reality. Anyways, we learn Jezebel Jet is behind Leviathan which I didn’t see coming at all.

The Batgirl of Hong Kong

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Red Robin #17
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To

 

My favorite comic book character of all time – Cassandra Cain! THE BATGIRL, in my opinion, returns in this issue! Working in Hong Kong in a new costume, Red Robin travels to give her her old costume back. She agrees that Stephanie needs to be Batgirl right now but Red Robin reminds her that she is always going to be a member of the bat family and she takes the costume! I can’t wait to see her in it again soon as the Batgirl of Hong Kong! I would have liked to see her talk to Bruce but this is good enough for now…Nicieza writers her in character and as bad ass as always. I can’t thank him enough for this I almost want to write him a letter I really think I just might. The rest of the issue was great as Tim sets up his new headquarters at the abandoned theatre in Crime Alley (Great idea for a headquarters), meets up with Lynx and then Batman and they even hug! Bruce’s new costume is awesome! I love it! Cass is back yes!!

The Most Wonderful Anniversary Issue Diana Could Get

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Wonder Woman #600
Written by Gail Simone, Amanda Connor, Louise Simonson, Geoff Johns, and J. Michael Straczynski
Art by George Perez, Connor, Eduardo Pansica, Scott Kollins, and Don Kramer

Wonder Woman reverts to classica numbering…well the numbering of all three of her series put together. Six Hundred issues! Now this was a damn anniversary issue! Beautiful pin-ups and wonderful stories that not only celebrated the character’s rich history but brought her forward. Gail Simone’s story of Wonder Woman leading a band of female heroes was breathtakingly drawn by Perez and ended with a sulute to the Perez era of the character. It was great to see all those female heroes working together – and Grace was there! We haven’t seen her in a while. But of course my favorite story has to be Amanda Connor’s short Wonder Woman team up with Power Girl that featured the Batgirl Cassandra Cain!!!!!! It takes place in the past but it was so great to see Cassie in her suit and all her glory again I almost cried! Sure she didn’t exactly talk like Cassie – but I am not complaining at least we got to see her. What a treat! Not to mention it was a great little story where Wonder Woman explains how Power Girl can bond with her cat. Simonson’s and Johns’s stories were good spotlights of how powerful and amazing the character is but the real meat of the issue is Straczysnki’s prologue to his new run. Shockingly, something has changed the timeline of Wonder Woman’s life and now she is an orphan raised in the city by amazons after Paradise Island was destroyed. The new costume isn’t going to last and let’s face it – it’s not the great but Kramer does the best he can with it. I know this isn’t a permanent retcon and that Diana will make her way back to the original timeline so I am interested in where this radical new direction is going. I also wonder how this will effect the rest of the DCU.  This was the perfect anniversary issue for Diana!

Guess Which Panel Was My Favorite

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Batgirl (Volume 3) #6
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett

CASSANDRA CAIN APPEARED IN THIS ISSUE!

Yes, it was for one panel but it was damn awesome to see her! She hasn’t been forgotten about! It’s sad that a one-panel appearance gets me so excited when she should be appearing regularly in at least one monthly bat book. I am hoping she is going to be in the new Birds of Prey! Please put her in the new Birds of Prey DC! Anyways, this was a good issue and I love Damian so much now. What a change of feelings for the character I have had. I originally hated him. This was a lot of fun and a good book. More Cassandra Please!

Cassandra Cain Will Be Back

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Batgirl (Volume 3) #1
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett

You know I should really hate this book. My favorite character – after being disrespected by DC editorial since her series ended and ignored in other bat titles – gives up her role as Batgirl in this issue to Stephanie Brown! But I am actually not that upset, because it is totally in character for her. Cassandra thought the world of Bruce and I do believe Bruce’s death would cause her to not want to wear his symbol anymore. I hope it is only temporary and she comes back to help Steph or goes and helps Tim in his adventures – but I am okay with it for now. Granted though, this would have been a lot better if it starred Cassandra Cain, but Stephanie was someone Cassandra really liked and I understand why she gave Steph the cowl. I like Barbara’s involvement in this as well and I am curious as to where this is all heading. But please bring Cassie back sooner rather then later!

Morrison’s Farewell

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Batman #683
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Lee Garbett

This is Morrison’s final issue on Batman, and, well it was damn good. Just like last issue, we get more memories from Bruce’s life mixed with a fake what if memory if Bruce had never become Batman. This issue was much more clear. I like the idea that Dick would have died going after his parents’s killers if Batman never existed. It shows how important Dick and Bruce are to each other. Same with Gordon. And Catwoman for that matter. And hey, we see Batgirl’s silhouette! Yay! Thanks for actually having her appear in your run at least once Morrison. The end of R.I.P is finally revealed…Batman survived the explosion and goes on to Final Crisis which is his real last case. Yes, DC totally handled this wrong and I am pretty sure this wasn’t originally how it was going to happen but I don’t really mind. What I do mind is Didio’s fucking DC Nation column in the back, not only does he totally disrespect Kyle and Wally, but what he says is definitely a lie. There were no plans to bring back Barry Allen, just read interviews with other creators like Johns and Waid who have said DC didn’t know what the hell they were doing with Flash. I can’t wait till the day Didio leaves DC and the DCU can actually move forward instead of backwards. But anyways, this issue was good.

Forever Grateful

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Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #14
Written by Frank Tieri
Art by Ryan Benjamin

While this isn’t really an Outsiders issue, just another issue starring Batgirl, I have to say that I also fucking loved it! Tieri needs to write a Batgirl book as he completely respects the character. Alfred showing up in the Batmobile was sweet and I loved how he broke up Nightwing and Batgirl’s fight and Dick admits he was a little jealous of Cassandra. Fantastic. I really feel like she is a member of the Bat family here, unlike all the other  books as of late. Thanks Frank, you have officially made me one of your fans. Since her series ended, no writer has truly respected Cassandra as a member of the bat-family, but you finally did it. Even though Batgirl will not be involved in this series past this issue, I am forever grateful that she got this nice arc.