Warning: SPOILERS for Young Justice #8
Long before the heroes of the DC Universe turned evil, and even longer before any comic book fan had ever heard of The Batman Who Laughs, there was a world of nightmares in which the Justice League were villains, not heroes. But fans now know that even with Batman gone... Gotham City wasn't without a guardian angel.
It's likely that even casual fans of the DC Universe know about Earth-3, the parallel world home to the notorious Crime Syndicate. Comprised of villainous reflections of the Justice League like Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman, they rules their world with an iron fist. But in DC's New 52 they also invaded in hopes of ruling yet another planet--only to be killed. Now the Young Justice series is revealing what happened to the world the Crime Syndicate left behind. And of course, how one vigilante Gothamite finally realized her true potential as Batwoman.
The current Young Justice heroes are stuck on an endless trip across the DC Multiverse, trying to return home. Unfortunately even readers couldn't help prepare them for the Earth-3 visited in the latest Young Justice #8, now populated versions of... well, themselves. But as these mirror image villains attack, insult, and terrorize, one voice rises to confirm that some heroes haven't given up the fight just yet. We;ll let Brian Michael Bendis's narration speak for itself:
I tried to mobilize other powered people, ones who might be in hiding and too scared to stand up individually, against this (no real takers). I try so hard every day to help anywhere I can... But some days seem so lopsided I don't know where I'm going to get the energy to go on. But then a day like today happens... These heroes come into our lives and--and--by just their existence they show us there is a world worth fighting for. You do have to stand up for yourself. And that's why! That's why I am...
Yes, in the terrorized world of the Crime Syndicate, left to fall into anarchy once the ruling villains left Earth-3, it is Stephanie Brown who steps up to make a stand against the chaos. Based on DC Comics history it makes sense, too. While even Stephanie knows that she is the Robin every Batman fan forgets, she is also the only person to operate as both Robin and Batgirl, although her personality wasn't what you would call 'tolerable' to Bruce Wayne. That's not an issue on Earth-3, where only the evil Owlman rose to occupy a similar role. Unfortunately this introduction is cut short, just moments after Stephanie realizes that Young Justice's version of Tim Drake isn't as evil, or unlikable as that of her own world.
In Bart Allen's defense, there was no way to know that the Stephanie Brown removing her mask and engaging Tim in conversation wasn't trying to slowly kill him or... yeah, this one is on Impulse. His punch directly to Stephanie's head will hopefully just knock her unconscious, allowing her to catch the heroes up on what else has transpired on her now un-ruled planet. Perhaps even convince Tim he should drop his Robin name for 'Drake,' as well? Only time will tell. For now fans can simply celebrate the fact that if Bruce Wayne was never there to defend Gotham, it would be Stephanie Brown who would find her way to the role of Batwoman all by herself. Did anyone ever doubt her?
Young Justice #8 is available now at your local comic book shop, or direct from DC Comics.