The following contains spoilers for Birds of Prey #2, now on sale from DC Comics
The scope of the DC Universe makes it easy for characters to come and go in terms of prominence. That’s what makes it particularly exciting when a major character from a fan-favorite title returns – especially if they come with upgrades. That’s what just happened with a fixture from Gotham Academy, in a way that hints the character has a more important role to play in DC’s future than anyone realized.
Maps has been steadily returning to the DC Universe in recent years, appearing in Batman and Batgirls as a supporting character and a new potential Robin. But according to her appearance in Birds of Prey #2 (by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles), she seems destined to become a time-hopping superhero named Meridan in the future. This is an exciting development, and proves that she’s the biggest break-out character from Gotham Academy.
Who Is Maps — And How Does She Come Back For Birds Of Prey?
Mia Mizoguchi (more commonly known as Maps) was introduced in Gotham Academy #1 (by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl). The excitable best friend of Oliver Silverlock, Maps was one of Gotham Academy’s central characters, often working to unearth the mysteries that lingered at the school. She was also established as a professed fan of Batman and superheroes in general, often speaking of her dream to become a Robin. During this time, she befriended members of the Bat-Family, including Damian Wayne and Barbara Gordon. In recent years, Maps has returned to prominence in titles like Batgirls and Batman, the latter of which saw her formally team-up with the Caped Crusader and don a Robin costume. When she was introduced, Maps was a breath of fresh air to the DC Universe, a bright and driven contrast to the typically dark and dour heroics of Gotham City. She’s since established herself as a fun part of the Batgirls’ orbit, working well alongside Cassandra Cain (and helping push her brother closer to Stephanie Brown as a potential romantic partner). But according to Birds of Prey, Maps has an even more important role to play in the future.
Black Canary’s mission in Birds of Prey has been to assemble a team that can rescue her adopted sister Sin from danger. After discovering that she had been taken by the Amazons on Themyscira, Black Canary worked to recruit a team skilled enough to counter the Amazons. It turns out the source of this information is Meridan, a time-traveling hero who has returned to the past to inform them of the potential ramifications of their failure. She also reveals that she’s a future version of Maps, who has seemingly graduated to full superheroics after growing up. This future version of Maps seems very restrained compared to her more energetic younger self, keeping to herself during Black Canary’s briefing in Birds of Prey #2 before using a mysterious device to fade into the near future where she can further assist Black Canary and her allies. Given the character’s history and place in the DC Universe, it’s exciting to see Maps make the leap to the hero community in at least one reality.
Compared to other Robins, Maps becoming a time-traveling hero is promising. Many of the Robins have seen their futures in flux, especially in the middle of the currently running “Gotham War” storyline. Characters like Jason Todd might be irrevocably changed by Batman’s decisions in the arc, while heroes like Dick Grayson and Tim Drake might lose their faith in the Caped Crusader completely given his most recent actions. The only Robin who seems to have their fate sealed is Damian Wayne, who discovered in Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths that he may be on a pre-ordained path across the multiverse to eventually replace his father. By contrast, Maps (who has only had one formal mission in the core DC Universe where she became Batman’s Robin) seems destined for greater things. If she’s gained access to time-travel technology, she’s working on a far larger scale than just the Gotham City missions she took on in her youth. She’s also gained the trust of Black Canary, suggesting she’s become an important figure in her time period.
This is just the latest example of Maps solidifying her place in the greater DC Universe. Maps was one of the stars of Gotham Academy, which remains an underrated classic of the Post-Flashpoint universe. The series handled the dangers of Gotham City with a mix of cheerful intrigue and character-driven storytelling, with Maps front and center as the cast’s most likable character. Maps has steadily proven to be the most enduring of the Gotham Academy characters, returning to the modern version of Gotham City in surprising places. She works as a sidekick to established heroes, retains her perky personality in relation to other characters in her orbit, and has even been shown wrestling with the dangers of Gotham from a uniquely realistic perspective. These appearances have proven that she can fit alongside other members of the Bat-Family, even beyond her friendship with Damian. But this new discovery of her eventual heroic identity as Meridan suggests she can fit into the larger DC Universe as well, eventually moving beyond the limitations of Gotham City and the Bat-Family to become a time-traveling hero that the modern Justice League can respect and work alongside. This teases the future role Maps may have yet to play in future stories, and hints that at least one major Gotham Academy character may continue to rise in prominence even as the rest of the cast fades further into obscurity.
Birds of Prey confirms the eventual fate of an unlikely Robin, revealing that they will become a unique time-traveling superhero. Read More