It was pretty much 99% the treatment of Cass. She basically handed Steph her costume with some bullshit reasoning that without Bruce she has nothing to fight for (contradicting characterization previously established in her series, where she explicitly told Bruce she did not fight for him) and exited stage left. Other than an extremely brief flashback where Cass had told Steph not to follow her, Steph never mentioned her again, and neither did Babs. This was Steph’s best friend who had a huge impact on her life and Babs basically adopted daughter, not to mention an important part of the Batgirl legacy, so it’s pretty egregrious. She was even left out of Steph’s cartoon history of the bat family. Cass was pretty much blacklisted at DC at the time, but that doesn’t really excuse her not even being mentioned- especially since near the end of the series she was no longer blacklisted.
The reason Cass left was later retconned with it being that Bruce told Cass to give Steph the costume, which is almost worse, because that’s not Bruce’s decision to make. He should NOT be controlling the Batgirl legacy behind the scenes. It’s not his legacy and it’s never been his decision who gets the cowl- nor should Cass be made to follow his orders about something so dear to her. It pretty much undermines everything Batgirl’s about. Miller told me Cass wouldn’t have given up the legacy if she hadn’t wanted it too, but that didn’t do much to make me feel better, especially since it was never addressed in the text. I’m am just so tired of Bruce secretly being the God Behind Everything instead of being making decisions for themselves.
Obviously there’s also some unfortunate implications with the half-Asian Batgirl being replaced by a white girl and instantly forgotten too.
There’s some other minor issues- Stephanie talked very disparagingly about her days as Spoiler, basically sometimes boiling her motivation down to “chasing a boy”, which was never why she was Spoiler- she was 100 percent in it to stop her dad at first, and just grew to love it. She even quit for a time and decided to get back into it again during the Quake WHEN SHE SAW PEOPLE IN DANGER. It was never about Tim.
Now, I actually think it’s super in character for Steph to be very disparaging about herself. She doesn’t have great self-esteem or understanding about herself, that’s part of her character. But it wasn’t really ever confronted, though it could have been in the works before the series got canceled.
There’s also the issue that her “hopeful” side was overfocused on a bit. She’s always been an extremely angry person and could even be very cynical, but we didn’t see a lot of that in Batgirl. This didn’t bother me as much as it did others, because as shitty as War Games was, it was still acknowledged as having happened, and in it Stephanie sort of gave up her desire to kill bc idk Batman said so. (and that decision immediately got her killed! The moral is always kill people I guess). Was it good writing? No. But it happened. And I could see her deciding to become a more hopeful person in the wake of what she’d been through. So it didn’t bother me as much, though yeah, I agree I do see her as someone built on bloody determination rather than an inherently hopeful person.
If you don’t have the huge attachment to Cass (which what is wrong with you if you don’t though :P) or baggage w/ the rest of it though, it’s a good read and a very fun series that finally lets Steph shine and be impressive.Her relationship with Babs is pretty great, there’s a lot of disabled characters, and it’s a nice change from the ridiculous grimdark comics that surrounded it- it’s all about hope and reinventing yourself and fun. It was also basically the only period of Steph’s tenure in comics where she wasn’t constantly treated like complete shit by both the other characters and the editorial/writers. That was obviously extremely nice as a Steph fan and something I was over the moon about at the time, even while being down in the dumps because of Cass. It was a very weird time, like being ripped in half between your two best loves. WHY DC. WHY CAN’T I EVER HAVE BOTH.
Also I like that it happened because Fabian Nicieza once told me Steph couldn’t support her own solo series and I was like “HOW DARE YOU YES SHE COULD” and I love being right.
Agree with all of this - especially of the retcon of the original stupid reason they had Cass give up the Batgirl legacy - because Bruce ordered her (in case something happened to him what?) to help Stephanie. Because Bruce (who in canon we’d all like to forget) left Gotham to a “reformed Two-Face”, took a trip around the world with Dick and Tim and left Cass alone to be drugged by Deathstroke and then take over the League of Assassins. Yes, to make the Cass Zero Appearance work they had to mess up Bruce Wayne too.
And as a reminder - when this issue happened - Miller’s “Return of Bruce Wayne: Batgirl” one shot - all happened it was an off-hand line by Bruce to Alfred about why Stephanie was Batgirl (so it wasn’t even about Cass). Cass never appeared in it (although she had appeared in Red Robin by that time so the Editorial thing we give Miller a pass for was lifted) and she never explained HERSELF. Also - from the time Bruce returned from the dead to the reboot (which was over a year) he never interacted with Cass once, they never shared a panel, we have no reaction of her to his death OR his resurrection or Bruce’s reaction to her going AWOL again (or what exactly it was he told her to do - like Cass is some kind of slave or something). Miller definitely could have ended that issue with Bruce coming back from seeing Steph as Batgirl to him talking to CASSANDRA instead of Alfred and it would have made the entire Batgirl series come full circle. But it was clear after issue 2 that Miller really just wanted us to forget there ever was a Batgirl between Babs and Stephanie as if it was Babs herself who gave Steph permission instead of you know who. And that can’t all have been Editorial.
And yes, if you don’t feel a twinge at the only Asian superheroine (and only MAJOR woman of color in the Bat-Family) in the Bat-comics getting replaced by a blue-eyed blonde white girl - when at the same time Supergirl and WonderGirl were ALSO blue -eyed blond white girls then you’re missing some “unfortunate implications” (to quote TV Tropes) about diversity in comics and where DC Editorial’s priorities are.