Comic book fans who have a passing familiarity with current events in DC Comics already know that Bruce Wayne is dead—or, more accurately, trapped in prehistoric times—and Dick Grayson, the first Robin, has assumed the cape and cowl to become the new Batman.
What those casual fans might not be aware of is that there's also a new Batgirl running around. "Smallville" writer Bryan Q. Miller is the author of the new "Batgirl" comic book series, which thrusts former vigilante Spoiler into the role of Gotham City's latest Bat-clad hero.
In an interview with MTV News, Miller said that Batgirl's alter ego, Stephanie Brown, has had several mishaps in her vigilante past, including familial ties to a super-villain, inadvertantly setting off a gang war in Gotham and also, well... dying... for a short period of time.
"Before Stephanie became Batgirl, she definitely had a checkered past and not the highest success rate of being a hero," said Miller. "The whole world before this comic is saying, 'Stop doing what you're doing. We don't want you doing it.' But Stephanie didn't listen, because she's stubborn in the best kind of way."
The apparent demise of Bruce Wayne has caused Cassandra Cain—the most recent Batgirl before Stephanie—to hang up her uniform, paving the way for Stephanie to try the costume on for herself.
"She can't help but see what it feels like with the Bat on her chest," said the writer. "During the course of the first three issues of this 'Batgirl' run, she comes to appreciate what it really means to wear that symbol."
Even without Bruce Wayne in Gotham City, the new Batgirl isn't alone. Stephanie's greatest asset comes in the form of Barbara Gordon, the first Batgirl that was crippled at the hands of the Joker in Alan Moore's "Batman: The Killing Joke." Barbara—who now goes by Oracle, Gotham's premiere source of surveillance and intelligence gathering—has decided to teach Stephanie the ways of the Bat.
"They've made a bond with one another to go forward in [Stephanie's] vigilantism in a mentor-student relationship," explained Miller. "[Brown] will have the guidance of Barbara, who herself as Batgirl didn't have someone to show her how everything worked. She sees a little bit of her brash youth in young Stephanie Brown."
Readers that haven't kept up to speed on DC's current comic book output shouldn't have trouble following "Batgirl," according to Miller. The writer said that the comic book—while tangentially connected to other titles in the Batman universe—is intended to stand on its own merits as an independent read.
"It's a little more female-oriented because you have two heroines in the book, so it's certainly something that your girlfriend or daughter might like," added Miller. "It's a little more open in readership, I hope — that's the goal, at least."
Are you already a fan of Miller's "Batgirl" run? Plan on checking it out? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!