Batgirl's coming back to Gotham City after a long absence — but who is she? Her new writer's not saying. But at least we know what Fake Bruce Wayne will get up to, over in the Batman comics. Bat-spoilers ahoy!
With so much of the new Batman status quo established in June's Batman Reborn event, and Dick Grayson and Damien Wayne now firmly established as the new dynamic duo, DC's Batman panel was relatively short on shocking revelations. The last great Bat-related mystery of the moment (well, other than the whole "how is Bruce Wayne coming back?" thing), the identity of the new Batgirl, remained unsolved, with incoming Batgirl writer Brian Q. Miller limited to only the tiniest of tidbits. There was only one concrete statement about her identity: Batgirl will not be Bette Kane, the Silver Age Batgirl who has since become Flamebird.
No matter who the new Batgirl will be - whether it's the incumbent Cassandra Cain, the iconic Barbara Gordon, or the Spoiler-ish Stephanie Brown - the book will feature lots of characters that haven't appeared recently, whom readers will be happy to see return. There are also big plans for Batgirl's costume, which will initially be the Barbara Gordon version but then change into a newer, sexier costume in the third issue. Finally, according to a prepared statement: "There are waffles in the first issue."
Elsewhere in the Batman books, Greg Rucka offered up a number of details on the future of Detective Comics. He promised that J.H. Williams's art will only get better with each passing issue, and he genuinely believes that Williams is redefining the language of drawing comics. Perhaps most interesting, there will be a massive change in art style in #858, and the comic will actually look as though a different artist drew it. The Question is set to take on an even bigger role in the book, as her second feature will expand to twenty pages and be the lead story during a break in the middle of Rucka and Williams's run.
Paul Dini, currently writing both Batman: Streets of Gotham and Gotham City Sirens, promised that the villainous Hush, now impersonating the otherwise dead Bruce Wayne, will continue his "one man stimulus plan", giving away Bruce's entire fortune and wreaking financial havoc on the Batman family. Hush is also out for revenge on the Gotham City Sirens characters, making him a key player in both books. Dini will also feature another villain, as he will be featuring the serial killer Mr. Zsasz (who makes the Joker look almost reasonable by comparison) in Streets of Gotham. Mr. Zsasz - newly redesigned to look even more horrific - is out to realize his truly disgusting vision of Gotham City.
We didn't hear as much about Grant Morrison's Batman & Robin book, although artist Philip Tan, who will take over art duties from Frank Quitely starting with issue four, did reveal that he's got a "crazy, crazy script" to work from. He hopes that his three issues will provide something a little different from the rest of Morrison's run on the book, although it will still be consistent with the overall gonzo tone of Batman & Robin. Batman group editor Mike Marts also confirmed that Morrison is still working on his masterplan for the character, and he mentioned that we haven't seen the last of the future Damien Wayne from Batman #666.
Batgirl isn't the only new book that will be joining the already crowded Batman franchise. Sterling Gates has written the four-part World's Finest miniseries, which will start in October. The story will explore the relationship between Dick Grayson and Clark Kent (or, as he is now, Commander El of New Krypton) in light of all the massive changes Batman and Superman have seen over the past year. Fabian Nicieza is writing the Batman and Detective Annuals, both of which will feature the new Azrael and help launch the character in his upcoming monthly series.
Finally, senior executive editor Ian Sattler let slip one intriguing (if cryptic) detail that may or may not amount to anything. When asked about DC's plans to bring in the Batman Beyond characters into the comics continuity, something that has been rumored for years, he replied, "You might see more Batman Beyond than you expect." I'm calling it - Terry McGinnis is going to join the Legion of Superheroes. Somehow.