Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Batgirl #1 – A Review

Batgirl #1
Publisher DC Comics

Writer Bryan Q. Miller

Pencils Lee Garbett

Inks Trevor Scott

Colors Guy Major

I was really worried that the whole mystery of who is Batgirl was going to play way too big of a role in this book. Once I saw the DC solicitations for November and they talk about Batgirl fighting crime and dealing with a frat party I know it was not Barbara Gordon. Still page 6 put a smile in my face that was damn hard to take off it for awhile as I saw Batgirl is revealed to be Stephanie Brown, formerly Spoiler and Robin for a heartbeat, also assumed dead for a little while.

For me this is a perfect choice for a number of reasons. Number one I liked her being Robin and when they killed it is was almost with disdain. Second, I always liked her character as she was portrayed as a good person with a lousy father (Cluemaster). Spoiler was always a great addition to the Robin book a few years book. She gave Robin someone he could mentor and a love interest that was part of the crime fighting scene. I thought her non-death was a little weak and the explanation of why Batman played along with it was lame, but it got Spoiler back into the DCU so I was happy. Now with Tim out of town, it just works to see Stephanie take up the Batgirl mantle. She has history with the group and she is a fun character.

The story itself was also well done. Bryan Miller did a nice job of starting the book with a little crime fighting, introducing who Batgirl is and then starting to fill in the blanks of how Stephanie ended up in Cassie’s costume. As with Stephanie’s return from the dead, Cassie quitting seemed a little weak, but since she stripped off the costume after fighting some bad guys with Spoiler, Stephanie could not resist and that makes sense. Stephanie has always been a want-to-be bat person, in a good way, and now she is taking her chance.

The story also delves into what is going on with Stephanie’s life. She is going to college, she is hiding being Batgirl from her Mom (who knew she was Spoiler) and she is conflicted over whether she wants to go down this road or not. It gives us a nice foundation to build on for the character.

Another excellent touch to the story was focusing a fair amount on Babs. As she was the original Batgirl this makes this book work even better. That devoted a fair amount of space to Babs, so I see her as a co-star of this book. I expect Babs to lecture and eventually mentor Stephanie. The confrontation cliff hanger to come between Babs and Steph was how issue #1 ended.

So we get a new Batgirl, we establish what her life is about right now, we introduce supporting characters and we seem to give the book a co-star with Babs. All in all this was an excellent start and a very good first issue.

The art by Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott was great. I have been enjoying Lee Garbett’s art for a long time and have enjoyed seeing his work grow over time. He has a fluid style that works great in a book like this and he has a strong sense of realism which I think plays well in a Bat book. His ability to display emotions is also well done and with having a young girl as the central character the need to display a wide range of emotions is important and Garbett can do it. This guy is the real deal and one day I expect him to be a star in the comic field, that is not to say he is not a rising star now, but I mean someone people will want to buy the book for the art alone.

Overall Grade A – No mystery, a great first issue and an entertaining book that does everything a first issue should.

1 comment:

  1. Completely spot on review, 100% agree with your thoughts.

    Barbara playing such a big role is an absolute delight.