As James Tynion IV prepares to leave Detective Comics, he is leaving it giving the fans what they want. Well, some of them anyway.
During the No Man’s Land storyline in the 1999 Batbooks, Cassandra Cain, the trained daughter of assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva was given the role of Batgirl under the guidance of Batman and Oracle. In 2000, she became the first Batgirl to star in her own comic book series. The series ran until 2006 and Cassandra Cain abandoned the role of Batgirl shortly thereafter. Years later, just before – and slightly during – the New 52 relaunch in Batman Inc, she rejoined the Batman family as Blackbat, but was basically removed from continuity, aside from in New 52: Future’s End where she is seen as a future member of the League Of Batgirls. She returned to regular continuity in Batman And Robin Eternal in 2015 as Orphan and as part of the DC Rebirth relaunch, became part of a team of Gotham vigilantes led by Batman and Batwoman in Detective Comics. But no Batgirl for her, Barbara Gordon has filled that role since the New 52.
Then there’s Stephanie Brown, who took over the Batgirl role after Cassandra Cain. Daughter of Cluemaster, she first appeared as Spoiler in 1992, later becoming Robin and then Batgirl. She starred in her own Batgirl series, the second to do so, from 2009 to 2011. Her continuity was then wiped out by the New 52 as Barbara Gordon became the only Batgirl and, despite many fan campaigns, she was kept off the board, and indeed DC executives believed the character was ‘toxic’.
The character returned as Spoiler in Batman Eternal, removing any time she had spent as Robin or Batgirl, and also joined the team of Gotham vigilantes in Detective Comics for the DC Rebirth.
That series has already shown a number of future timelines, including a fight with Future Batman Tim Drake, who had been captured by Jor-El/Mr Oz thanks to Dr Manhattan and and whose vision of the future has been infecting this one.
But it turns out, it’s not the vision of the DC Rebirth future, nor the New 52 future. But of the Pre-52 version, before Dr Manhattan’s meddling with the timeline. Which means Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, Orphan and Spoiler, get an idea of what may have been.
Quite specifically that this reality has been stolen from them.
Not named, but that would be Dr Manhattan doing the stealing then.
And they both get a precis of what the New 52 did away with. Cassandra, no longer an Orphan in both senses.
Though with Barbara Gordon still in the chair. And she gets what she’s always wanted…
While Stephanie Brown briefly gets to be Robin again as well… and then a little shaming to boot.
And all because of Watchmen’s Dr Manhattan…
Could Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown be Rebirthed along with everyone else? Not long until Detective Comics #1000 after all…
DETECTIVE COMICS #980
(W) James Tynion IV (A) Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher (CA) Raul Fernandez, Alvaro Martinez
“Batmen Eternal” part five! The worst possible future for Gotham City has been locked into place, and there’s nothing Batman can do to stop it… until Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain catch a glimpse of something they never would have thought possible! In Shops: May 09, 2018