So, another restart for one of DC’s most enduring characters, Batgirl! Anyone keeping count on which volume number we are on now?
One of the benefits of the recent Bird of Prey Rebirth issues is that we got to see a potted history of Ms. Gordon. Thank God that DC learnt its lesson, somewhat, from too many issues of similar styles featuring Dick Grayson and we didn’t have to re-read yet another writing saying that The Killing Joke happened!
As the issue starts, Batgirl is up to her Doc Martins fighting a Sailor Moon Ninja. From there its recap time as we learn what Babs is actually doing in Japan.
Writer Hope Larson keeps the younger Batgirl style of dialogue, without some of the more annoying “cute-speak” that punctuated the previous few issues of the previous run. The de-ageing is part of the of the problem with this current iteration of Batgirl. Take for example some of the things that she has gone through and she is still somewhere between 18-20 years old? I am not sure if I totally buy it. Sure the Steph Brown character was in college as a freshman so it works better there, than in here. Still, the fun element of the book is still somewhat enjoyable, even if it does feel forced in places.
Rafael Albuquerque, he of “that” cover is on art. Whilst probably not my artist of choice, he delivers a certain style that appears to be mature in places, yet still showing expressive faces. The camera angles chosen throughout look to move the story along, whether it’s a fighting scene or a conversation whilst blowing chunks of squid. A lot of credit for how the book reflects fun and energy must go to colorist Dave McCraig, who uses a mix of shading to bring the most of the colors used. There is a minor day-glow effect, that is a little reminiscent of the latter run, but I am not going to hold that against him.
As I said, DC have learnt a lesson over story style, but still has some way in the timing department. This month we have not one, but two former “Bat-kicks” out on their own, in a different country about to learn new techniques from someone who isn’t Batman. Now both of these stories sound like good ideas for the characters involved; one to possibly show that he is own man and not just a wannabe copy of the original and the other to improve on fighting skills, which whilst ok, haven’t matched any of her Bird contemporaries. But why DC, do we have both stories in the same month? As its cost us more to buy twice as many issues, surely you can give us two different stories?
This book still has a Barbara Gordon that reads a little too young for my taste. But, overall, the art and the context of the story makes me quietly hopeful for this series.
Writing -3 Stars
Art – 3-5 Stars
Colors -4 Stars
STORY BY Hope Larson
ART BY Rafael Albuquerque
COVER BY Rafael Albuquerque, Francis Manapul
PUBLISHER DC Comics