When I was still living in London, my local comic shop—and one where I would later have the honor of working—was Orbital Comics. It was there on those hallowed shelves that I first discovered what still stands as one of my favorite comics of all time, Gotham Academy. The gorgeous gothic adventure took place in the titular prep school which stood just yards away from Arkham Asylum. Written by the imaginative duo of Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher and drawn by the absolutely spectacular Karl Kershl, the book immediately drew me in. But while it was ostensibly about a young woman named Olive Silverlock, the character that became my firm favorite was her best friend, Mia "Maps" Mizoguchi.

Now, ten years after Mia first appeared in Gotham Academy, she's become a staple character in the DC Universe, with a possible future version of her playing a vital role in Kelly Thompson and Leo Romero's Birds of Prey series under an intriguing new alter-ego—Meridian. It’s also AAPI Heritage Month, so if you still don't know Mia, now is the perfect time to dig into her storied history and find out why she's your favorite DC Comics fan's favorite DC Comics character.

Class is in Session

Maps first debuted in 2014's Gotham Academy #1, where we learned that her detective skills and intelligence were second to none. Whether exploring cartography, calligraphy or lock picking, Mia is a great person to have alongside you on an investigation, which led to her founding the school's Detective Club after discovering a strange series of tunnels connecting Gotham Academy to Arkham Asylum. It was an auspicious beginning for Maps, who would soon be uncovering truly shocking secrets as she continued her journey as a student at the prestigious academy

Maps' eagerness for adventure is only topped by her compassion and loyalty, meaning she immediately set herself apart as a beacon of goodness in Gotham. Whether befriending a young boy named Damian Wayne or helping good old Olive discover the truth about her family and their secretive history, Maps is always there for the ones she loves.

Batman's Biggest Fan

One of the most endearing aspects of Maps' DC introduction was her deep and abiding love for Batman. It's a joyous in-character moment we don't often get, and yet, it’s only natural that a child who grew up in Gotham might have a passion for the Dark Knight. In Mia's case, that manifests as not just a love for Gotham's most famous son, but also a passion for detecting in all its forms. Maps is never afraid of adventure or putting herself in harm's way, marking her as decidedly braver than most residents in Gotham.

Her never-ending curiosity means that she's also one of the few people to ever uncover some Bat-Family secret identities. She's gotten to be Robin after she helped out Batman on a couple of occasions, and even got her own costume. She's such a fantastic addition to the extended Bat-Family that Bruce still often calls on her to tap in for a mission. But Maps is just as powerful in her own right as she is with the mantle.

Coming into Her Power

Thompson and Romero's incredible Birds of Prey series has been an unbridled creative success, reintroducing the team to a new generation and getting the entire comics reading community caught up in its intriguing and cosmic mystery. But for this writer, the biggest reveal was that the masked hero known as Meridian was actually none other than Mia Mizoguchi from a potential future where she'd gained the ability to jump between timelines. Even though Maps' love for Batman has always been central to her character, getting her own hero mantle on her own terms feels right, and it'll be interesting to discover more about Meridian and why she became the hero that we met in the pages of Birds of Prey.

It feels like big things are going to happen for Maps, so it's the perfect time to get to know her!

Follow Mia “Maps” Mizoguchi’s adventures in Gotham Academy, Gotham Academy: Second Semester and Birds of Prey, all available to read on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.

Rosie Knight is an award-winning journalist and author who loves Swamp Thing, the DC Cosmic and writing the monthly gossip column here at DC.com. You can also listen to her waxing lyrical about comics, movies and more each week as she co-hosts Crooked Media's pop-culture podcast, X-Ray Vision.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Rosie Knight and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.