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Comic Book / Batgirl (2009)

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What, this? Oh, it's nothing, just my gargoyle. Why, don't you have one? note 

"It's only the end if you want it to be."

Batgirl was an ongoing monthly comic-book series written by Bryan Q. Miller. Running from 2009 to 2011, this series featured Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, the fourth person to bear the title ("officially", she's the third Batgirl, however), while she simultaneously attends Gotham University. This is the second ongoing series to be named after and feature the Batgirl character; the previous series focused on the preceding Batgirl, Cassandra Cain.

Stephanie Brown is the daughter of the Cluemaster, a member of Batman's rogues gallery, and she began operating as the masked vigilante "the Spoiler" when her father managed to abandon his habit of leaving clues to his crimes. Guest-starring in multiple Gotham-based series, Stephanie began a romantic relationship with Tim Drake Robin and formed a friendship with then-Batgirl Cassandra Cain. Eventually she assumed the Robin identity herself when Tim briefly rejected the costume, but her earnest efforts to help ended up instigating a massive gang war in Gotham and she was captured by Black Mask. In the original story she was killed by Black Mask, but a later retcon revealed that she survived her injuries and her death had been faked to smuggle her out of the country.

When it was decided to launch a new self-titled Batgirl series, the executives decided not to use the currently-existing Batgirl as its star. In the first issue, Cassandra Cain, who had worn the mantle since the Bat Family Crossover Batman: No Man's Land in the 1990s, retired as Batgirl in the wake of the death of Batman. Stephanie, who had an established friendship and even a pleasant working relationship with Cassandra, decided to use the costume and assume the mantle of Batgirl. Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, found out about this and at first tried to stop her, but after seeing a demonstration of her bravery vows to guide and help her. The series was Lighter and Softer than many of the other Bat-related titles being published by DC and is an embodiment of the Tropes Are Not Bad ideal: Its upright and cheerful protagonist still faces the same horrors and challenges facing any hero, but perseveres without ever losing her positive outlook.

The series ended in August 2011 with the New 52 Continuity Reboot of The DCU, after which a new Batgirl series was released featuring Barbara Gordon as the titular character. A one-shot featuring Stephanie Brown as Batgirl was published in Batman, Inc.: Leviathan Strikes, containing her planned Batman, Inc. crossover issues that were never published due to the reboot. Years later, Steph got some more closure (particularly regarding her on-off romance with Tim Drake) in a Convergence mini-series before her return in Batman Eternal where she became Spoiler again.

In DC Rebirth, Steph joins the cast of Detective Comics as part of a team (including Tim Drake, Cassandra Cain, and Clayface) being whipped into fighting shape by Batman and Batwoman in order to face a dangerous threat.

For the character page covering the Batgirl persona and the various women who have worn the identity, see Batgirl.

Batgirl (2009) provides examples of:

  • Abbey Road Crossing: An outing with Batman, Inc. in London has Stephanie and Squire encounter this, of course.
  • Action Girl: Stephanie herself, as well as Barbara and Wendy. And the Teen Titans, when summoned as The Cavalry in the penultimate issue, are all girls—Supergirl, Miss Martian, Stargirl, and Bombshell.
  • Alpha Bitch: Jordanna, who might actually count as a friend of Stephanie, is also rude and teases anybody she thinks odd. Steph is her usual target (primarily because she thought Steph was trying to be a Class Clown and because she caught her eavesdropping on her). She also uses the death of another student to get out of taking a test she found difficult and insulted Steph when she refused to do the same, something which REALLY pissed Steph off.
  • Always Someone Better: When Supergirl guest-stars in issue #14 she is better than Batgirl at seemingly everything. Apart from her natural superpowers, she also has a greater zest for college life than Stephanie ever had and can easily follow the explanation for rampaging Draculas because she is of the science guild. However, unlike most examples of this trope, Stephanie likes her all the more because she is just so awesome.
  • Amazon Chaser: Once she finishes beating a train hijacker to a pulp in issue #9 he can only comment how beautiful she is.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final line of the series is Stephanie's narration as she swings into the Gotham night for her next adventure.
    Batgirl: Here we go.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: A Bat themed hero of course, with guest appearances by two robin themed heroes and a cameo by a canary themed superhero.
  • Art Shift:
    • The opening pages of issue #15 are drawn in a Super-Deformed art style, which at the end is revealed to have been art drawn by Stephanie herself as she explains the history of Batman to Proxy. This issue onward also saw the art duties taken over by Dustin Nguyen, who has a noticeably different art style to Lee Garbbett.
    • #18 features its first and last pages, magical effects, and scenes in Limbo Town in Dustin Nguyen's signature watercolors.
  • Ascended Fangirl: In the Black Mercy inspired visions of issue #24, the final panel shows Stephanie, now an adult woman operating as Knightwing, with her own Batgirl partner. This young woman is Nell, the child that Batgirl encountered numerous times throughout the series and was her biggest fan and ardent supporter.
  • Badass Normal: Like the rest of the Bat-family, Stephanie relies on skill, training, determination (and plenty of gadgets) to triumph over creatures with abilities far beyond normal man. She also rocks the trademark Bat-Family Badass Normal willpower: she fights off the effects of not only The Scarecrow's fear gas, but also the Black Mercy... an alien super-hallucinogen that's previously sidelined Superman and Green Lantern.
  • Bat Family Crossover: One issue crosses over with the "Collision" event from the Red Robin ongoing, where Ra's Al-Ghul and the League of Assassins menace Gotham and the Bat-Family.
  • Batman Gambit: Apparently, Bruce Wayne ordered Cassandra Cain to give up the Batgirl title in the event of his death with the express intention of the costume passing on to Stephanie, which in turn would force her to mature as a person and as a crimefighter. Steph does not like it when she finds out.
  • Bat Signal: Batgirl responds to the primary signal, reasoning that it is the Bat signal, not the Batman signal. However, when she is suspected of murder the police lure her in by shining the signal and ambushing her when she answers.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Oracle and Calculator face off within Barbara's subconscious.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, is this to Stephanie. She mentors Steph and plays the role of Mission Control.
  • B-Movie: Stephanie and Supergirl go to a cliche'd, badly acted and cheesy Dracula film when Supergirl stops by one night for a visit.
  • Book Ends:
    • The line "Here we go" is first uttered by Stephanie in the last panel of issue #3 after she has gained Barbara's sanction and support as Batgirl. It is uttered again by her as the final line of dialogue in the series.
    • As lampshaded by Stephanie, the book started with a plot about the hallucinogen Thrill and ends with another hallucinogen: Black Mercy.
  • Breather Episode: #18 takes a break from "The Lesson" arc for a Valentine's Day Episode.
  • Buffy Speak: "How else are we gonna solve the mystery of the thingy stolen by the invisible super-guy?"
  • But I Digress: Stephanie has, on occasion, digressed from her own internal monologue.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In her Bruce Wayne: The Road Home one-shot, Steph slaps Bruce after finding out he was secretly testing her and blows up at him for everything she had to put up from him over the years. They reach an understanding by the end of the issue.
  • Captain Obvious: "It means no-one steals a gun to make cotton candy. You steal a gun to shoot it, usually at someone."
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Stephanie has mastered the art of the Seinfeldian Conversation while facing her own impending doom.
  • The Cavalry: The Teen Titans are summoned when Batgirl shouts "Shazam!" and arrive right in the midst of her battle with the Reapers.
  • Character Development: The theme of the series seems to be growing up in both the literal and figurative sense, with Stephanie Brown going to college and also approaching superhero work with a more mature and developed attitude. Wendy continues her character development that began after her brutal mauling in the Teen Titans series, where she and her brother Marvin were minor supporting characters until their brutal exit from the series. She is coming to grips with being a paraplegic and reinventing herself as the superhero-in-training Proxy with the counseling and guidance of both Dr. Leslie Thompkins and Barbara Gordon.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Stephanie actually quotes the maxim, pointing out that nobody steals a gun unless they are planning to use it for something.
    Batgirl: If there's a gun in a scene, you use it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Dr. Newton first appears in an unimportant one-shot story during the crossover with Supergirl, but returns at the start of the multi-issue "Reaper" arc.
  • Cherry Tapping: Supergirl is so unimpressed by the Reapers that when she fights Slipstream, she defeats him with an Offhand Backhand while checking her nails.
  • Childish Pillow Fight: Supergirl suggests to Batgirl that they have a pillow fight when they are spending the night out together, and Batgirl wonders just what kind of movies she has been watching. Later in the issue, though the fight itself is not shown, Stephanie's bedroom is covered in pillow feathers.
  • Children Are Innocent: Stephanie is a firm believer that kids should have a chance to be kids, and Damian Wayne's upbringing and current lifestyle disturbs her to no end. When she discovers that he does not even know how to play, apart from causing her heart to break just a little bit, she brings him to a moon bounce so that he can start learning how to be a child.
  • Clear My Name: Stephanie is briefly suspected of murder when one of her Batarangs is found near the corpse of a college student she was trying to protect. The fact that it was covered in blood did not help matters. To Stephanie's frustration, it's strongly implied that the police were going to scapegoat the first Bat that happened to answer a Bat-Signal-based trap.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Klarion, whose frame of reference is quite different from that of a human. For instance even though he's not a bad guy he thinks he has to just let his familiar run around killing people and ripping their hearts out because it would be cruel for him to magically imprison Teekel. Steph convinces him otherwise.
  • Colon Cancer:
    • Multi-issue arcs are titled, along with each mini-arcs within those arcs having their own titles, resulting in issues whose full names would be something like Batgirl: Batgirl Rising: The Flood: Part Two of Four.
    • Within the series Stephanie is very excited at the possibility of a team-up with the Birds of Prey. She attempts to actually name their inevitable team-up and, after trying variations on the extremely simple "Batgirl and the Birds," settles on "Team Batgirl vs. the Birds vs. Casper the Not-So-Friendly-Tech-Thief In: The Lightning Saga."
  • Color Motif: Stephanie is strongly associated with purple... er, sorry, eggplant.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Kara asks if Stephanie is going to take her top off to reveal her costume, Steph snarkily responds that the only result will be Kara looking at her bra. Kara, missing the sarcasm, asks if Steph's bra would have a bat on it.
  • Comic-Book Time: Slightly less than nine months pass during the series' two-year publication time. Stephanie starts the series at the beginning of her freshman year at Gotham University, and the series ends during her second semester of the same school year.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: She works with the real James Gordon and knows him both in and out of costume, but her personal contact is Detective Nicholas "St. Nick" Gage. She finds him quite handsome. When she meets him outside of costume, she nearly explodes from the levels of awkwardness.
  • Conclusion in Another Medium: The last pre-Flashpoint story involving Stephanie Brown, which was originally going to be published in issues #8 and #9 of the ongoing Batman, Inc. series, has been collected into an oversized one-shot published as Batman, Inc.: Leviathan Strikes.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The cover for issue #24, the series finale, contains almost every single character to ever appear in the series. This includes villains, allies, civilians and even people who only appeared in individual issues.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When trying to dissuade Stephanie from continuing as a costumed crimefighter, Barbara points out that her history is so bad that she actually used Stephanie as an example of why other teenage girls should not become vigilantes, including presenting photographs from her faked autopsy. This occurred in the first volume of Birds of Prey, where the teenage runaway Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe used a homemade costume to fight crime as Batgirl.
    • Issue #19 partially deals with Barbara's life and plans now that Oracle is dead. That storyline concluded in Birds of Prey (Vol. 2) #10, which was released the same day and included Batgirl as a character.
    • Grant Morrison worked with Bryan Q. Miller to line-up Batgirl with his Batman Inc. series. Morrison planned to write an issue which saw Stephanie head to England to infiltrate a boarding school for teenaged assassins, so Miller wrote an issue of this series which featured Batgirl traveling to London. However, the planned issues of Batman, Inc. were not published until after the cancellation of Batgirl and were released as a non-canon oversized one-shot.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: He might be a film-spawned hologram instead of the real thing, but it is still Batgirl and Supergirl fighting Draculas.
  • Crossover: With Red Robin and Batman, Inc. in different issues.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Teen Titans vs the Reapers. Some of the Titans do not even bother to look at the Reapers while they are beating them, and others experiment with new catchphrases and sayings.
  • Damsel in Distress: Stephanie points out that Detective Nick Gage is the "damsel" in their relationship.
  • Dare to Be Badass:
    Wendy Harris (Proxy): What if I don't want to be a hero...
    Barbara Gordon: It's time for Wendy Harris to decide what she wants to do with her future. Firewall is upgraded and ready to go whenever you are. Batgirl will be out on patrol soon. You have the ability to be so much more than you believe you can be.
    Proxy: Look, Barbara...
    Barbara: Goodnight, Ms. Harris.
  • Death Is Cheap: Stephanie hangs a lampshade on this when talking to Bruce after realizing he is back in action. "I've just been worried that if you ever popped up again - and I mean, who really stays dead nowadays anyways, right? You missed the zombies, by the way."
  • Determinator: Despite everyone telling her to quit, despite everything bad happening to her, she keeps going. Especially evident in the fear gas scene.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: When Stephanie met Detective Gage for the first time in her civilian identity, having already formed a working relationship and infatuation with him under the guise of Batgirl, she absent mindedly comments on how awkward the situation is. It is only when he asks her what she means that she realized she said it out loud instead of in her inner monologue.
  • Disabled Love Interest: A subplot of the series is Barbara's potential relationship with Detective Gage. Her father sets them up on a date early in the series, and it closes with Batgirl recommending that he give her a call.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: The power of Figment, one of the Reapers.
  • Dracula: What is worse than Dracula jumping off a film screen and attacking the audience? Twenty-four Draculas leaping off the screen!
  • Dressed in Layers: Supergirl rips off her shirt to reveal her uniform beneath it and asks if Stephanie is going to do the same. "Not unless you wanna see my bra."
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Don't do drugs" is the advice Stephanie shouts as she runs away after having beaten up a gang of thugs who jumped her one day.
  • Dual Wielding: Stephanie and Padma take their Ping Pong games very seriously, and they were several games into a "Best of Seven" competition when Padma decided to go "double paddle."
  • Dying to Be Replaced: Cassandra Cain does not die, but the series was conceived with the intention of Stephanie being Batgirl and, as such, they had Cassie renounce the identity and costume in the first issue. It was later revealed that this was all part of a plan by Bruce Wayne that ultimately led to Cass taking up the Blackbat identity.
  • Ephebophile: Commissioner Gordon finds it somewhat off-putting when he notices that teenage-Batgirl and one of his thirty-something detectives appear to have formed a flirtatious relationship. (Don't worry, it is pretty much just a harmless crush on her part.) When the detective complains that nobody says anything when he talks to Batman, Gordon responds that "I'm pretty sure Batman's legal!"
  • Expy:
  • Faking the Dead: The series makes reference back to the War Games crossover and Stephanie's subsequent "death," where she was smuggled out of the country to protect her from Black Mask.
  • Familiar: Klarion the Witch Boy and his cat familiar Teekl appear in a Valentine's Day issue when Teekl goes on a murder spree after Klarion the Witch-Boy kept him away from his true love.
  • Fantastic Racism: Batgirl asks Supergirl if referring to aliens as "your kind" is considered offensive.
  • Flashback: Frequently employed to bring readers up to speed.
  • For the Evulz:
    Batgirl: Why... why are you doing this?
    Miranda: Because we can!
  • Fumbling the Gauntlet: While in Limbo Town, Stephanie is trying to strike up a conversation with a native witch, but when Stephanie tries to complement the witch on her bonnet and asks where she got it the witch interprets that as a questioning of her craftmanship skills. Stephanie says that yes, she is questioning her craftmanship skills, provided that this will occupy at least two-minutes time. Unfortunately, the witch responds that she doubts Stephanie will last two minutes as Stephanie remembers "Oh. Right. Magic."
  • Fun with Acronyms: Supergirl actually recognizes that "BFF" is already plural ("Best Friends Forever") and "BFFs" is a tautology. This only makes her even more awesome in Stephanie's eyes.
  • Fun with Subtitles: Well, "Captions" instead of "Subtitles," but they give us such goodies as "Requisite Super-Collider Lab."
  • Gambit Roulette: The one-shot crossover with Bruce Wayne: The Road Home reveals that apparently everything that has happened so far in this series, including Cassandra Cain's rejection of the Batgirl title and its passage to Stephanie, was all planned by Bruce Wayne in the event of his death, with Cassandra Cain briefed on the details long ago.
  • Genre Savvy: Stephanie really is a product of her generation, with all the TV and movie knowledge that implies. She is ever-aware of the cliches that occur, and are expected to occur, in wacky situations. This leads to frequent Lampshade Hangings, such as quoting the Chekhov's Gun maxim verbatim, and even commenting on tropes that she herself has not yet experienced.
  • Giant Equals Invincible: Discussed by Kara in issue #14:
    Steph: I thought only the green stuff could hurt your... is "kind" offensive at all?
    Supergirl: Depends on which one of us you ask. And it isn't just Kryptonite. There's all kinds of little hiccups. Magic. Electricity. Sometimes robots, if they're big enough.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: Referenced when Stephanie goes to England for a mission with Batman, Inc. She asks Squire to warn her about any impending feet in a Shout-Out to Monty Python, but Squire assures her that Knight caught the foot last week.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The twenty-four Draculas running around campus sprung from a physics experiment that went in a direction other than planned.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: She and Damian Wayne (Robin) play "Bad Cop, Worse Cop."
    Batgirl: Here's the deal — Me? I'm a "punch first, ask questions later" kinda gal. Him? He's a stabber.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: One of her best friends, apparently.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Wendy remembers the night that she and Stephanie first met (During a crossover with Red Robin) as the night with the ninjas. Stephanie herself simply describes them as "assassins."
  • Grenade Tag: Steph is able to take down Slipstream by using a magnetic Batarang that sticks to his costume and then explodes with a sticky pink substance that prevents him from running around.
  • Hacker Cave: Firewall, Babs' basement wired up with many computers.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Steph's blonde hair adds to the image of this Batgirl being young and light-hearted, and a touch naive.
  • Handicapped Badass: A portion of the series is focused on the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, and also Wendy, formerly of the Teen Titans, both confined to wheelchairs but still kicking ass.
  • Handwave: The explanation for twenty-four Draculas running around campus does not make sense, but it gets the background out of the way so Batgirl and Supergirl can fight Draculas.
  • Hard Light: The explanation for Dracula's sudden transfer from movie screen to real life.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: After officially joining Batman, Inc., Batgirl gets a new advanced crime-fighting vehicle from Bruce Wayne, which outwardly is a normal compact car. She describes it as "discreet urban camouflage mode" and, unlike the more impressive batmobile, she can drive down any normal street without comment.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: After Wendy Harris begins to assist Oracle and Batgirl as Proxy, she begins to hallucinate seeing her dead brother Marvin, who tries to coach her through her physical and mental recuperation. Both Wendy and "Marvin" are pretty clear that this is a manifestation of Wendy's subconscious, not some sort of ghost or hologram, so when Marvin comments on how hot Barbara is Wendy can not help but wonder at what that says about herself and her mind.
  • How We Got Here: The frequent use of In Medias Res means that numerous flashbacks are necessary to explain how, for example, Stephanie went from playing board games with her mom to fighting Draculas with Supergirl.
  • Humongous Mecha: None have appeared in the series, but when going over Kryptonian weaknesses Supergirl explains that, in addition to Kryptonite and magic, they are vulnerable to robots if they are big enough.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: When describing why she hates 'The Reapers', Batgirl remarks on their "Cliched costumes...says the girl with the thigh belt."
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: As Batgirl leaps out of a helicopter in issue #23, she tells Detective Gage (who she has had a crush on for the entire series) to give Barbara Gordon a call and ask her on a date. In an interview, Bryan Miller explained that he felt that scene was indicative of real growth in Stephanie's character; not that she would recognize she and Gage could never have a relationship, but that she would actually think to recommend he get involved with somebody else.
  • Imagine Spot: Stephanie's Black Mercy-induced visions are shown in a montage in #24, including:
    • Stephanie, Supergirl, Stargirl, Miss Martian, and Bombshell as Disney pastiches fighting off dwarves, a dragon, and the Queen of Fables.
    • Stephanie, Barbara, and Damian participating in Blackest Night as Blue, Green, and Red Lanterns, respectively.
    • A photo of all three Batgirls with Skeets and the Blackhawks in 1944.
    • Fighting the Royal Flush Gang at her college graduation.
    • An older version of herself, a mother with a son, operating as Knightwing alongside Nell as Batgirl.
  • Implausible Deniability: "I'm not a monster" is a pretty brash claim to make when you are mind raping somebody at that very moment!
  • Incompatible Orientation: Stephanie began to develop a crush on Francisco, one of her classmates, and viewed herself as in competition with Jordanna for his affections. However, it turns out that he is already involved with somebody else; a man. Jordanna already knew the whole story, but Stephanie only found out after she was dragged into his wacky family life as Batgirl.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Stephanie has never once lost her positive, upbeat attitude, never descended to the same levels as the people she fought, and also never so much as cheated on a test. She is the only Bat-character to never angst or approach psychosis because of her affiliation with the icon.
  • In Medias Res: Issues frequently begin in the middle of Batgirl's current adventure, later explaining How We Got Here.
  • Inner Monologue: Stephanie has, rather unfortunately, "inner monologue issues." She realizes this, after Barbara pointed it out to her the night before, when she accidentally says something out loud when speaking to Detective Gage in her civilian identity.
  • Insistent Terminology: Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl and at that point the tech-savvy Oracle, refuses to call Stephanie Brown by the name "Batgirl" after she takes over the persona. This is for a variety of personal and professional reasons, and she always refers to Stephanie by her proper name or with various pronouns, always avoiding the actual word "Batgirl". When she finally does use the term, Stephanie recognizes that this signifies her acceptance and approval, and it gives her the motivation to persevere when fighting the Scarecrow.
  • Instant Costume Change: Kara (Supergirl) uses her Super-Speed to change clothes instantly and not to be caught by Stephanie's mother when she comes to visit Steph in Batgirl #14.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: The regular use of In Medias Res often means that the initial scenes of an issue cannot be explained using information that readers currently possess, forcing them to wait for later panels (Or even issues) to provide the proper context.
  • Jerkass: Tim Drake's response to seeing Stephanie as Batgirl is to, in short order, ask if she's "still playing dress-up" and what the hell she's doing, call her useless to her face, and then when a crisis comes up, tell her to "let the professionals handle this one." Unsurprisingly, she's not really interested in getting back together.
  • Jumped at the Call: Stephanie is one of the few superheroes in the DCU who loves her job and would not give it up. She is constantly told not to help, people explain all the problems and dangers that are inherent to the hero world, and they point out the personal benefits that come with not living a double life. Stephanie, however, will have none of it, and even if she has to do everything herself, with no help or appreciation from other heroes, she will not give up doing good.
  • Killed Off for Real: Clancy Johnson, a.k.a. "The Gray Ghost".
  • Kryptonite Factor: When Supergirl was injured by one of the twenty-four Draculas that she and Batgirl are chasing, Batgirl is surprised, since she thought only Kryptonite could injure a Kryptonian. Supergirl goes on to explain that other things can injure them, including magic and robots, if they are big enough.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Stephanie comments on almost every trope that she experiences or expects to experience, extending to actual quotations of maxims like Chekhov's Gun.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: When Oracle and the Calculator are fighting within their minds Oracle "deletes" the Calculator's memories of her real identity. However, it is revealed in Birds of Prey that her messing with his mind has had some horrendous consequences that the Calculator believes will ultimately prove fatal.
  • Legacy Character: She picks up the immediate mantle from Cassandra Cain, becoming the fourth "real" Batgirl in then-current continuity, but she also struggles with the even larger burden of living up to Barbara's original legacy. This is exacerbated by the fact that Barbara serves as her mentor.
  • Lighter and Softer: A stark contrast to the Darker and Edgier stories we normally get from Gotham, helps that Steph is such a Plucky Girl and good person.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • While under the thrall of the Calculator's nanites during "The Flood" arc, Barbara dreams of a life in the suburbs where she has full use of her legs, is married to Dick, and lives happily with her father, Tim, and Damian. It quickly goes sour when she has a vision of Stephanie and the Calculator shows up in an aloha shirt and lipstick...
    • The Black Mercy makes an appearance in the series finale, issue #24.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Harmony of the Reapers.
  • Medium Awareness: The narration captions seem to at least semi-realize they exist in a fictional story, as they occasionally refer to locales and events as they fit into the larger story.
  • Me's a Crowd:
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Stephanie: But seeing as how Proxy already has load of abandonment issues and none of my can-do, Devil-May-Care, Pollyanna... uh... unsinkable...
    Barbara Gordon: You get a little lost there?
    Stephanie: You shoot from the hip, you don't always hit the mark.
  • Mind Rape: Barbara points out that Calculator loses a lot of credit in the "I'm not a monster" department since he has "his hands around my neck while he Mind-Rapes me."
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Klarion the Witch-Boy (dum, dum, dum) appears and moans that "he" is out of control and violent, Batgirl thinks he is referring to an ex-boyfriend. Klarion quickly corrects her that "he" refers to Teekl, his cat familiar.
  • Mugging the Monster: Three crooks try to mug Barbara on the subway in the first issue. Bad idea.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The issue "Field Test" of the first arc of the series, Rising, pit Stephanie against the villain Livewire, a Canon Immigrant from the DC Animated Universe that first appeared in Superman: The Animated Series. Livewire had also guest-starred in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series before being imported into the comics. This episode, "Girl's Night Out," which was her first appearance in Gotham City and any Batman related media, featured her fighting (and being defeated by) Batgirl.
    • In "Core Requirements", Dr. Phosphorus assigns himself the title "Baron of Blight" in an apparent reference to the Batman Beyond villain who looks almost exactly like him.
  • Noodle Incident: Barbara and Stephanie allude to Two-Face attempting to rob a phased-out shipment of two dollar bills.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted. The series follows Stephanie after she graduated from High School and moved onto college, with relevant social adjustments. Of course, she does remain a freshman student despite the series being published for two years.
  • Obviously Evil:
    Calculator: I'm not a monster!
    Oracle: Says the maniac with his hands around my neck while he Mind-Rapes me.
  • Offhand Backhand: This is a Bat-Family book, after all.
    • Bruce Wayne, while guest-staring, backhands a thug while invisible.
    • Supergirl is so unimpressed by the Reapers that she backhands Slipstream while checking the condition of her nails.
    • In a flashback, Stephanie and Cassandra pull it off in sync against a pair of unfortunate thugs.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Batgirl's vampires are Hard Light constructs spawned from an old "Dracula" film that do not stop whining about their loneliness.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Stephanie is probably a more skilled martial artist than any person in the entirety of the Real World, but considering she lives in Gotham she keeps being humbled and humiliated by Batman and people with superpowers.
    • In one issue, she goes undercover to infiltrate a school where girls are trained in brutal hand-to-hand combat techniques. When several turn on her, Steph notes that they were trained by some of the most dangerous people in the world. She, on the other hand, was trained by a few of the actual most dangerous people in the world. Cue Offscreen Moment of Awesome for her.
  • Playful Hacker: Proxy, Wendy's new superhero identity. Oracle would also qualify if her skills and operations were not so far above the norm as to blast the "playful" title right into space.
  • Plucky Girl: One of Stephanie's crowning characteristics is no matter what crap is loaded on top of her, she remains cheerful and pops back up.
  • The Pollyanna: Stephanie describes herself as such. Barbara's final line of the series is to affirm this belief.
    Barbara: That's my girl—Pollyanna to the very end.
  • Power of Trust: When Detective Gage says that he trusts Batgirl, even if he does not know exactly why, Stephanie actually says the word "Squee" in her internal monologue.
  • Precocious Crush: Stephanie has become somewhat infatuated with the detective that is shaping up to be her contact with the local police, but the age difference (and the implication that he has some serious relationship baggage) will probably preclude any sort of actual relationship.
  • Psycho Electro: Livewire, the electric villain Batgirl fights in in Rising arc.
  • Pun:
    Batgirl: [while imprisoning Clayface in a block of ice] 'Kay Mr. Policeman, quip's to you!
    Detective Nick Gage: Uh... "Freeze!"
  • Punny Name: Detective Nicholas Gage is known as "St. Nick" around the office.
  • A Rare Sentence: In Batgirl 2009 #14, Kara and Steph are about to fight a sobbing Dracula (long story).
    Batgirl: Nothing sadder than a crying Dracula.
    Supergirl: If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that...
    Batgirl: You'd have a nickel?
    Supergirl: I'd have a nickel.
  • Refugee from TV Land: Dracula. Perfect.
  • Ret-Canon: "The Gray Ghost" was a show featured in Batman: The Animated Series about a masked crime fighter that was one of Batman's favorite shows as a child. In issue #19 it is revealed that it now has been (Oy, tenses are always trouble in a Retcon) a show in the DCU. The train hijacker of issue #9 is dressed as "The Mad Bomber," a villain from the fictional show, and he later re-appeared with the crime-fighting name, costume and weaponry of the Gray Ghost character himself as he tried to become Batgirl's sidekick and get her to go on a date.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Stephanie asks Squire to warn her about any Giant Foot of Stomping, Squire assures Steph that Knight caught the foot last week.
  • Rule of Cool: The explanation for twenty-four Draculas running around campus does not make sense, but it does not matter since it is Batgirl and Supergirl fighting Draculas.
  • Running Gag: Steph gleefully takes part in the gag of comparing and mistaking Tim's Red Robin costume for Dr. Midnight's, and is the only person to get the reaction she wanted out of him in doing so as he'd calmly ignored everyone else.
  • Secret Identity: Batgirl is really Stephanie Brown, freshman at Gotham University and formerly the Spoiler and Robin. Oracle is really Barbara Gordon, assistant professor of computer science at Gotham U, the original Batgirl and current leader of the Birds of Prey. Proxy is really Wendy Harris, formerly of the Superfriends (by way of the Teen Titans) and daughter of the Calculator.
  • Secret Test of Character: According to revelations made in the one-shot crossover with Bruce Wayne: The Road Home the entire series has been a test set up by Bruce Wayne to see if Stephanie can grow as a crimefighter and as a person. When Stephanie discovers this she is extremely upset and slaps him across the face.
  • Ship Tease:
    • When one of Barbara Gordon's male students sends a text message to Jen, the girl sitting next to him in class, commenting that Barbara is hot, Jen clutches her phone to her chest and says "Yeah, she is."
    • After Wendy Harris begins to assist Oracle and Batgirl as Proxy, she begins to hallucinate seeing her dead brother Marvin, who tries to coach her through her physical and mental recuperation. Both Wendy and "Marvin" are pretty clear that this is a manifestation of Wendy's subconscious, not some sort of ghost or hologram, so when Marvin comments on how hot Barbara is Wendy can not help but wonder at what that says about herself and her mind.
  • Shock and Awe: Livewire, a Superman villain that originally appeared in Superman: The Animated Series, guest stars in the first arc of the series, Rising.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Barbara Gordon is simultaneously starring in both this series and Birds of Prey, and Stephanie will often refer to her absences as being related to "the Birds." In a one-shot crossover with Bruce Wayne: The Road Home Stephanie is overjoyed at the possibility of a team-up with the Birds, saying "it's about time," and describing it as "Batgirl and the Birds...the Birds and Batgirl...Team Batgirl vs. the Birds vs. Casper the Not-So-Friendly-Tech-Thief In: The Lightning Saga."
    • Batgirl and Oracle worked out a sequence of code words and names to use in the event that they needed to contact one another but were unable to use their regular means. The pseudonym "Fay Wray", the starring actress in King Kong (1933), means "Blonde, in dress, in distress."
    • In the crossover with Supergirl in issue #14, after Batgirl learns that the Draculas they are fighting are holograms, she remarks "Okay. So, barring us running into "Moriarity" or "Evil Lincoln" or anyone else that escaped the Holodeck..."
    • When fighting a super-powered foe that can become invisible, Batgirl (and later Oracle and Proxy) refers to him as Casper.
    • Stephanie's mom, growing concerned that her daughter is spending too much time at school and 'work study,' advises her "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you'll miss it." Stephanie then informs her that that is from a movie that the two of them watched. The quote itself comes from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
    • When Stephanie is challenged to a Wizard Duel her opponent asks her what spell she would prefer to start with. Her response is "accio fist," though she admits afterwards that "accio face" would be the more accurate description.
    • "Strictly for rapport purposes—what is a plucky heroine in need of banter supposed to call you? Pretty sure Black Lightning is already taken."
    • Stephanie once introduced her collapsible staff with "Here's my boomstick!"
    • In the same issue as the boomstick comment, she beats up one of Oracle's training robots, which cries out, "WHY.WAS.I.PROGRAMMED.TO.FEEL.PAIN--"
    • In issue #23, Batgirl summons the Teen Titans assistance by shouting "Shazam!"
    • Bombshell, a member of the Teen Titans, has been experimenting with new catchphrases.
      Bombshell: Like "it's blank time!"
      Stargirl: What's the "blank" for?
      Bombshell: I'll let you know when I'm done clobberin'.
    • As Stephanie shows Supergirl (as Kara) around her college, Supergirl is really excited.
      Supergirl: Look at this stuff! Isn't it neat!
      Stephanie: [thinking] Please don't break into song...
    • #19 has Stephanie recite the Konami Code.
    • While in London, Stephanie asks Squire to alert her to any impending giant stomping feet.
  • Show Within a Show: Stephanie and Kara watch a cliched, badly acted and cheesy Dracula film when they decided to go out for Friday night.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: What she does with Scarecrow
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Stephanie forcibly kisses Klarion the Witch Boy (dum, dum, dum) in order to distract him and keep him from turning Jordanna into a frog. Stephanie, apparently, tastes like Christmas.
  • Smoke Out: She is a Bat...
  • Spit Take: When Steph's mom broaches the idea of moving away from Gotham for a completely fresh start, Steph spits out the orange juice she was drinking.
  • Spoiled Brat: Damian Wayne had a childhood of horror based around combat training and lethality, but he is still a spoiled little twerp who does not seem to realize that Batgirl does not have to automatically bow down to his obvious greatness. In the end he learns to respect her though, and is seen checking in on her after she suffers the effects of the Black Mercy.
  • Squee: Stephanie herself squee's relatively often, as she is a teenager who has managed to remain light-hearted and chipper despite the traumas in her own life. When the possibility of a team-up with the Birds of Prey comes up she is ecstatic. When Detective Gage says that he trusts her, she actually says the word "Squee" in her internal monologue.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The train hijacker Stephanie beats up in issue #9 begins asking her out midway through his beating, and he reappears in later issues in pursuit of her affections and calling himself "The Grey Ghost."
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: "The Grey Ghost" has been "tracking" Batgirl for a week now, thinking that he had her totally unaware.
    Batgirl: Peek-a-boo.
    Clancy Johnson (The Grey Ghost): Gah! [drops binoculars] Those were expensive!
  • Sting: Klarion the Witch Boy verbally inserts his own "dum, dum...dum."
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • During the Gotham University Harvest Festival, both Stephanie and Oracle independently wonder "What exactly does Gotham harvest?"
    • Their thoughts were not very strange, but during the "The Flood" arc many of Batgirl's and Oracle's Inner Monologue narrations were identical copies of one another.
  • Super-Speed: Slipstream. However, when he and Batgirl fight she notices that, though his reflexes are fast, they are not superhumanly fast, and she is trying to figure out what that says about his powers.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Batgirl wakes up in a hospital, being tended to by her own mother.
    Batgirl: Thank you... registered nurse I've never met.
  • Talk to the Fist: All Stephanie was trying to do was compliment a girl on her bonnet...
  • Tastes Like Purple:
    Klarion the Witch-Boy (dum, dum, dum): You taste like Christmas.
    Stephanie: You say that like it's a bad thing.
  • Tearjerker: In-Universe, Stephanie does not care for Damian Wayne, the current Robin, even a little bit, but sometimes she can not help but hurt at the obvious issues he has from his childhood.
    Nell: I'm Nell, what's your name?
    Robin: [while undercover] It's... I'm new... er... my name is... Bruce.
    Batgirl: [internal monologue] My heart just broke for him a little. I must never let him know... unless it keeps him from killing me one day, but I digress.
  • Teleportation: Clancy Johnson, "The Grey Ghost," apparently has some sort of teleporter that makes him vanish in a flash of light.
  • Telescoping Staff: Stephanie's weapon is a collapsible staff that she wields to bruising effect. In the crossover with Red Robin, she calls it her Boomstick, because she shouts 'boom!' as she hits things with it.
  • Television Portal: Isn't it just like Dracula to leap off the movie screen and start attacking the audience?
  • Tempting Fate:
    • While waiting for Calculator to attack, Barbara Gordon comments that she hates waiting. However, when Calculator does attack mere moments later she immediately regrets her earlier thoughts.
      Barbara Gordon: I take it all back, universe. Waiting was just fine, thanks. More waiting please!
    • When Kara and Steph first team up, Supergirl wants to charge in and take down the villains, but Steph suggests that it is not a good idea. Then Kara asks her, "It's the first Supergirl-Batgirl team up, what can go wrong?". Steph made sure to give her a sarcastic "You were saying?" when the pair is overwhelmed by Toyman's robots.
  • That's What She Said:
    Batgirl: [While being strangled by Dracula] Hopefully you won't hold this against me.
    Supergirl: That's what she said.
    Batgirl: You're funny.
    Supergirl: I try.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Referenced, but did not occur within her series. She is more self-assured, confident and competent than she ever was as either Spoiler or Robin, and is complimented on such by Bruce Wayne himself, but this dramatic change took place before the start of her tenure as Batgirl, and her improvements within the series are only incremental increases due to regular training and experience.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Steph and her mom eat waffles at pretty much every meal. It is apparently her mom's way of bonding, and even Damian was seen eating them with Steph more than once. It inspired a fan movement, who in an attempt to show DC that she is well liked by the fandom sent waffles to their head office.
  • Triple Shifter: Though she does more heroics in the daytime and dusk than Batman, her primary hours of hero duty are still during the night. Since she also has a full class schedule and work-study at Gotham University this leaves her very little free time for sleeping. As with most triple shifters the severe health and psychological problems that come with sleep deprivation are not mentioned, but the comic does deal with her almost constant exhaustion and she frequently oversleeps for both school and hero activities.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Stephanie finds it extremely disturbing just how emotionally damaged Damian Wayne is, especially when she learns he does not know how to play.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    Batgirl: You're supposed to be dead.
    Cluemaster: I could say the same about you.
    Batgirl: I got better.
    Cluemaster: So did I.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Batgirl wants to get Clancy Johnson to stop being the Grey Ghost before he hurts himself or gets somebody else hurt. She recognizes that other heroes all did the same thing to her, but she notes that he is doing it specifically because he wants to please her.
  • Utility Belt: Stephanie's tenure as Batgirl is assisted by the usual assortment of gadgets and gear, but her costume actually seems to have enough pockets to carry it all. Unlike Batman, Robin and the previous Batgirl's, who managed to fit all their gadgets into a single belt, Stephanie Brown wears an additional belt around her left thigh.
    • Lampshaded as Steph not actually needing all that space, as when her leg pouches are stolen by Slipstream, he remarks that there's nothing in them.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: #18, "Chalk (heart) Outline", featuring an odd date between Klarion and Stephanie as they try to find a mate for his familiar, Teekl.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: "...Kill you Abraham Lincoln..."
  • Wangst: In-universe, in the cheesy, over-acted movie the girls are watching the various Draculas will not stop whining about how alone they are. Or rather, how ALONE!!!!! they are.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Steph and Damian, and to a lesser extent Steph and Babs. Damian and Steph actually come to blows at one point, and he spends most of his time with her threatening her and insulting her body. Babs is MUCH nicer after they come to an understanding, but they both regularly snark each other.
  • "Well Done, Daughter" Girl:
    • Stephanie spends the early issues just looking for some validation and appreciation from Barbara, which she finally gets in issue #3.
    • In that same issue, Scarecrow's fear gas revealed Stephanie's deep-rooted fears of being a failure as a superhero and as a girlfriend to Tim Drake. In the Batgirl/Red Robin crossover in issue #8, her fears are assuaged when Tim tells her he is proud of what she has become.
    • She looked up to Batman during her tenure as Robin, and even asked him for validation during her death scene in War Games. When Bruce returns, however, she lets him have it instead of looking for his approval, as she recognizes that he was not a very good mentor/father figure.
    • Damian Wayne's Comedic Sociopathy and hostility with Stephanie is clearly all driven by his desire for approval and acceptance from Batman, either Batman, and he views her as a clear threat to that approval. What makes it so painful, especially to Stephanie, is that he clearly has no clue that his efforts are just driving his father figures further and further away, as he constantly tries to impress them with violence and aggression when all they want is for him to learn compassion.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Stephanie is not happy with Bruce's "test," and she lets him know. By slapping him.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Dr. Newton first appears exclaiming that he will "Show them all!" and he "Won't go back!" but when his invention actually begins to act up he just stares at it in surprises and says "Balls." Then he helps Batgirl and Supergirl fix everything.
  • With Friends Like These...: Stephanie and Damian Wayne, the current Robin, do not have a pleasant or cooperative relationship, and it verges right on the border of Divided We Fall. Only their ability to (so far) always pull success from the ashes has kept their relationship from actually turning violently hostile, and Robin still (frequently) makes reference to wanting to kill her. Stephanie does not think he is joking. He also calls her fat and tells her she's flat chested, just to be mean.
  • Witty Banter:
    Batgirl: Strictly for rapport purposes — what is a plucky heroine in need of banter supposed to call you?
  • Wizard Duel: When Stephanie unintentionally insults the bonnet-making-craftmanship of a witch in Limbo Town she is challenged to a standard duel, to be conducted per the guidelines set in Alchan's Book of the Damned, Third Edition, Twice Removed.
  • Working with the Ex: She helped out Tim Drake/Red Robin in Batgirl #8, in attempt to thwart the assassination of Leslie Thompkins. Cue awkwardness, passive aggressive banter (especially on Tim's side) and lots of UST— which almost caused them to hook up again but avoided by Stephanie thinking it was not good for her at the moment.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: After Batman, Inc. upgrades Firewall, Stephanie goes crazy making custom Batarangs...including one that is somehow simultaneously incendiary and cryogenic.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Witty Banter is a necessity in any life-or-death situation, and Stephanie always remembers to prompt somebody when it is their turn for a quip.
    Batgirl: Little late but nice effort.