Friday, September 11, 2009

Batgirl #1

When Batman RIP wrapped up earlier this year I reluctantly decided to drop the monthly issues as I'd been disappointed with the direction the book seemed to be taking. I've continued to follow what's been going on in the Batman U through various podcasts and blogs and although I've been missing my 'Bat' fix I just couldn't be convinced to start picking the monthly issues again - I figured I'd wait and pick up the collected edition at some point.

That said, I was intrigued by what I'd heard about the then forthcoming relaunch of Batgirl. A new Batgirl sounded like a good jumping-back-on point and I really liked the look of the cover that I'd seen in previews.

Now, I figure if you're a fan of Batgirl you've probably already read the issue so I'm not giving anything away when I reveal that the new Batgirl is none other than Stephanie Brown, formerly The Spoiler.

Through the opening pages, during which we're still not sure of Batgirl's identity, we witness an illegal 'Fast & Furious'-style street car race which ends when Batgirl intervenes, forcing the cars to crash. With the situation getting out of control, and with Batman and Robin looking on from a distance, the now injured and shaken drivers are disarmed before Batgirl removes her mask to reveal her true identity. A really nicely handled introduction I thought.

The book continues with a peak into Stephanies home life - a student a Gotham University about to start her freshman year we see Stephanie trying to convince her mother than the vigilante days are behind her and she'll be a 'normal girl' from now on. If being Batgirl is normal ...

We then cut to The Thompkins Clinic where we find Barbara Gordon getting some advice and counselling from Batman's physician Dr Leslie Thompkins. This wouldn't be a Batgirl story without Barbara Gordon would it?!

As the story continues, we find out how Stephanie takes over the role of Batgirl from Cassandra Cain and we see her in action at the Western Quadrant Border as she intervenes when one of Commissioner Gordon's officers is held by armed men.

In the books final pages we see Barbara confront Stephanie with the ominous sounding words 'we need to talk'!

I thought this was an excellent issue - a self contained story that nicely sets up this new on-going series - with great storytelling, nice artwork that's very much to my liking, eye-catching page layouts and a simply stunning cover.

I'll certainly be picking this title up every month and, what's more, I've got the 'Bat-bug' back and have added some of the other Batman family titles to my pull list.

Highly recommended.

Batgirl #1
Written by Bryan Q. Miller.
Art by Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott.
Cover by Phil Noto; Variant cover by J.G. Jones
Published by DC Comics, $2.99