Since DC Comics first announced the new ongoing "Batgirl" series back in May, very little has been revealed except for some teaser images on the publisher's blog The Source, the most important question being: just who is the new Batgirl - or indeed, is she even new at all?
With the highly-anticipated first issue coming next month, CBR News checked in with series writer Bryan Q. Miller in hopes of gathering some more information, but he proved tighter-lipped than Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth when it came to divulging any significant Bat-details. Asked point blank, "Who is under the cowl of the new Batgirl?", Miller laughed, "At the end of the day, it might be you under the cowl, Jeff. Or you, the third reader from the right!"
Since her debut in "Batman" #139 in 1961 as Bat-Girl, five different DC Universe characters have filled the role including, in order, Betty Kane, Barbara Gordon Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain and Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe.
Kane, retconned to Bette Kane in the 1970s as Flamebird, will be playing a role in Greg Rucka and JH William's "Detective Comics" starring Batwoman in the months ahead. Gordon, paralyzed by The Joker in Alan Moore's landmark graphic novel "The Killing Joke" in 1988, has since adopted the role of Oracle, the superhero community's primary source of intel. Bertinelli is now the Huntress while Cain, most recently, was wearing the Batgirl guise. Gage-Radcliffe, a.k.a. Misfit, is a former member of the Birds of Prey as are Gordon and Bertinelli.
Miller wouldn't confirm or deny any of these five would be headlining the new series or whether or not it was an all-together new character. And when nudged about the new Batgirl's personality, he simply stated, "Unfortunately, to answer that question would eliminate a swath of suspects," he told CBR. He did add, however, "The ever-nebulous 'redemption' plays a part in out heroine's make-up."
While Miller teased the answer to "Who is Batgirl?" may be answered in the first issue come August 19, he wouldn't commit to a definitive yes. "On the one hand, it would certainly help the mystery aspect of it if we held off saying who she was for a while. Then again, the other hand can't deny it might make it awfully hard to tell a story when you can't get inside of your main character's head. Find out which hand wins this August. I don't know why DC won't make that the tagline."
Other questions Miller didn't answer included whether new red-headed Batwoman would be appearing in the book and what classic Batverse rogues Batgirl would be facing. "It's happening in the same post-'Battle for the Cowl' Gotham as the rest of the books," he offered. "There's a genuine Bat-rogue in the mix. That's about all I can say."
Despite answers being hard to come by, Bryan Q. Miller praised the art team on the book, Lee Garbet and Trevor Scott and cover artist Phil Noto. "Lee and Trevor's work has a nice balance of detail and cleanliness to it, which really helps in a launch book," explained Miller. "And Lee's new Batgirl costume design is rad. And what's not to love about Phil's line-up of mystery covers?"
A veteran writer of "Smallville," Miller is currently penning a three-issue arc of "Teen Titans" that will lead directly into the super-sized 75th issue of the title, written by its new ongoing series writer Felicia Henderson, a co-executive producer on "Fringe."
Miller, whose first memory of Batman is the shark-repellent wielding Adam West in the 1966 feature film, admitted alongside his television credits, writing a comic book set squarely in the Batverse was a career highlight. "It's a pretty amazing thing, which I don't think really hit home until I found myself typing out 'INT. BATCAVE' in my first 'Batgirl' script," shared Miller. "So from a geek-out stand point, between writing for both Gotham in 'Batgirl' and Metropolis in 'Smallville,' I think the only thing truly missing is the word 'lightsaber' somehow finding its way into my work day."
Last season on "Smallville," Miller wrote the episode "Hex," which introduced Zatanna to the show's mythos. A fan of the character, he said he had no immediate plans to feature her in "Batgirl." "Zatanna is not in the cards at present," he explained. "That's not to say we'll never see her."
Asked if he'd like to be the writer responsible for bringing Bruce Wayne into "Smallville" continuity, perhaps as early as this season, Miller quipped, "Who wouldn't? That said, I'm perfectly content to have Metropolis and Gotham peacefully coexisting on my hard drive."
"Batgirl" #1 is set to arrive in stores August 19 from DC Comics.