Overall: This issue begins with Batgirl happening across a break-in at a Waynetech research facility where some man dressed in black was in the process of stealing an experimental gun that was capable of shooting bullets through walls. Steph tries to wrangle the mystery man, but he uses super-speed, Green Lantern power blasts and invisibility to escape Steph with the gun. After Steph leaves, the mystery man unmasks and reveals Bruce Wayne(!!!!!!!)!!! Ahem... So Steph reports back to Oracle who tells Steph that she was going to send the Birds of Prey after the mystery man since he's proven too dangerous for Steph to take on alone. Naturally Steph disobeys Oracle's decree to not continue the search, and with the help of Proxy, Steph discovers the mystery man's secret base and manages to dispatch his hired goons. After some thought, Steph realizes that the mystery man had to be targeting somebody at the nearby Crime Alley Reclamation Press Conference, and upon getting there she spots old boyfriend and current Red Robin, Tim Drake on stage. After some more quick thinking, Steph manages to track the mystery man down to a parking garage seven blocks away. Steph confronts him and demands to know who he was, since with all of the powers he was exhibiting there was no reason he needed that gun to commit a murder. Upon hearing that, Bruce unmasks and tells Steph that the whole situation was a test. Before he can tell Steph she did a good job, Steph slaps Bruce in the face(!)and runs off. Bruce catches up with Steph a bit later and Steph apologizes for the slap, but explains she was afraid Bruce's return would herald the end of her time as Batgirl. Bruce pretty much gives Steph his okay to continue being Batgirl, and this issue ends with Bruce telling Alfred that it looks as if Steph had really grown into the Batgirl role.
Well, this issue surprised the flying (insert favorite expletive here) out of me! I was absolutely STUNNED to see that Bruce was back in this issue, especially with the Return of Bruce Wayne mini-series still going on. So yeah, this was probably the most surprised I've been while reading a comic since... well, since I can remember. Besides the shock value of seeing Bruce back and interacting with Steph and Alfred, the story itself was DAMN good. It would have been REALLY easy for Bryan Q. Miller(writer)to just rest on his laurels and let the shock of seeing Bruce carry this issue, but no, he also told a fantastic story. The way he interweaved the work he's been doing in the Batgirl series with Steph's prior storylines was really impressive. We got some good flashbacks, fantastic dialogue, great art, a great story and a hell of a surprise. The only question that was really in my head after I finished this comic was, does this issue deserve a perfect score?
Score: 10 out of 10. Yes, yes it does deserve a perfect score.Who IS that masked man?!?