And the winner is...everyone! The general consensus about the new Batgirl's identity was dead on, as they mercifully revealed it to be Stephanie Brown in the first issue. (I was worried they were gonna drag it on for a few issues.)
The issue itself was a bit choppy, and I didn't think Stephanie's inner narrative was entirely convincing, but the message was clear; heroing is in her blood, she can't stop herself now, she's much better than when she started as The Spoiler, but she's got a long way to go to be at Cassandra Cain's level.
The Cassandra Cain brush off was another low point. I liked them being friends, but the sudden decision to take off the cowl for identity purposes makes no sense. Cassandra found and built her identity through the Bat-symbol, she gained a family for which she was incredibly grateful, and a purpose and a code to live by and be proud of. I'm sure they could have come up with something better. Maybe she'll come back and take over as Batwoman...not that I don't like Rucka, but Detective Comics isn't really hitting my sweet spot. Not into the redhead lesbian yet, definitely not into this female Joker "Alice" villain, and while the art is admittedly stunning it doesn't read very easily.
I'm glad Barbara Gordon is in the series though. It explains the future covers of Stephanie donning the old school Batgirl costume (think yellow lining and yellow high heel boots.) Yet again, however, her personality is written like a dried up well: consumed by anger over being a cripple. How many times do we need to read her overcoming that? Next she'll be having Joker nightmares, despite years and years of that, and actual physical confrontations that she won.
Still, her mentoring Stephanie should be good. She's the one who connected to Cassandra, and while Steph got training from Batman and Robin, respectively, the first screwed her over majorly and the second mostly made out with her. She needs some real help now, or else she'll end up being tortured and left for dead again. (I'm sincerely hoping for a Black Mask rematch, since he is back in Gotham and making himself known...by destroying Arkham Asylum for one.)
Also hope some Red Robin confrontations are coming in this series, as she's briefly appeared in Tim Drake's own title, and was shut down by him (semi-deservedly.) A rematch with Mr. Zsasz would be sweet too, since that was one of her few memorable outings when she was Robin briefly, and because he would add a needed level of terror and legitimate darkness to her nightly exploits.
So all in all, not a spectacular debut issue, but one with definite promise.
For more bloggers' opinions on the new Batgirl, check out When Fangirls Attack