SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Detective Comics #980 by James Tynion IV, Scot Eaton and Wayne Faucher, on sale now.
As seen last issue, Tim Drake has been consumed by the OMAC nanotech, becoming a new, Batman-looking Brother Eye, yet still claiming to be in control of his decisions. The first of these actions was to create a horrific new incarnation of The Belfry in the heart of Gotham to serve as the new headquarters for his, or Brother Eye's, base of operations. In James Tynion IV, Scot Eaton and Wayne Faucher's Detective Comics #980, Batman, Orphan and the newly rejoined Spoiler have infiltrated The Belfry 2.0, in order to try and stop Tim/Brother Eye's machinations.
In doing so, revelations by Tim himself regarding some familiar past incarnations for Orphan and Spoiler just might play a part in his defeat. Those revelations? That both had adopted the role of Batgirl at one point in an alternate reality – an alternate reality that's actually the very familiar pre-Flashpoint era.
Welcome to Rebirth, Batgirl(s)
As Batman fends off an OMAC'd Azrael and Batwing, it's up to Stephanie and Cassandra to find a way to stop Tim. With Cassie largely serving in a protective capacity, Stephanie deduces a way to possibly cut the connection between Tim and Brother Eye. Stephanie recognizes the new Belfry's futuristic technology as Tim's, and therefore confidently concludes she can quickly reverse-engineer his tech to defeat him. Apparently striking a nerve with Tim, despite his Brother Eye upgrade, the former Red Robin attempts to lessen Stephanie's confidence by reminding her of her fragile standing within the Bat-family.
Tim's masterstroke is to show both Stephanie and Cassie what they could have become, or more precisely, what they did become in another reality. Tim provides images of both women in their respective identities of Batgirl – identities neither have adopted within the confines of either Rebirth or the "New 52," but instead within the longstanding pre-Flashpoint continuity. The mention is the first time either incarnation has been referenced post-Flashpoint.
The point of Tim's emotional manipulation is to weaken the resolve of both, but in Stephanie's case, the move only galvanizes her. Long considering herself a sort of outcast from the Bat-family, Stephanie's self-realization instead strengthens her with the knowledge that she does indeed have the potential to wear the symbol of the Bat. As she pulls the trigger on her plan to sever Tim's connection to Brother Eye, the issue concludes not with her confidence shattered, but with her instead stronger than ever.
Cassie, too, is impacted by the image of her as an alternate version of Batgirl. Noting that she also sports the Bat-symbol in this holographic image, she is seemingly surprised that by the notion that Batman allowed her the honor of bearing the symbol. The full impact on her remains to be seen, but in light of her recent uncertainties regarding the symbol's meaning, the revelation stands to also potentially cement her place within the Bat-family.