Saturday, October 24, 2009

Batgirl #3: Point of New Origin

Another enjoyable issue of Batgirl begins with a great scene: Batgirl Stephanie Brown, crouched on the ledge of a tall building, looking through night-vision binoculars across an industrial city-skyline. Batgirl is for a change, she tells us, 'seeing something through' - the 'something' is tracking down and stopping Scarecrow and his thugs.

Situated back at the Batcave Barbara Gordon advises Stephanie that whilst she can't stop her from going up against the thugs alone there will be back-up - in the form of GCPD - arriving in a matter of minutes. Realising that Stephanie isn't going to wait Barbara explains that if she looks in one of the compartments 'on Cassandra's utility belt' she'll find what might just be an antidote to the fear gas. The comment about the belt still belonging to Cassandra isn't lost on Stephanie.

Inside their base - an abandoned hospital - Scarecrow sets two of his men onto one-another by exposing them to the fear gas. Meanwhile, with Barbara helping her to identify weaknesses in security Stephanie takes out a couple of guards before, having entered the building, she comes face to face with Scarecrow.

Dwarfed by her opponent Stephanie strikes the first blow before Scarecrow responds landing several punches. As Stephanie tries to fight back she begins to feel the effects of the fear gas. Taking advantage of his opponents temporary weakness Scarecrow sends Stephanie tumbling down a flight of stairs. With the fear gas inducing hallucinations Stephanie imagines she is being attacked - verbally and physically - by her ex-boyfriend Robin.

As the attack continues Stephanie looks for an escape but she can't get away from Scarecrow, who smashes her head through a glass window. With her uniform now in tatters Stephanie sees her opponent become Spoiler as the attack continues.

Finally Stephanie regains her senses and fights back, landing blow after blow on her opponent before, and accompanied by a defiant cry of 'I'm Batgirl', one final kick sends Scarecrow flying back across the room. Meanwhile, back in the Batcave, Barbara is quietly impressed with Stephanie's response. Moments later the police arrive which means it's time for Batgirl to leave.

The following day, at The Thompkins Clinic, Barbara introduces herself to Wendy Harris, explains that she understands how she must be going through since recovering from her coma and being unable to feel her legs, explaining that she's available to talk if needed.

At Gotham University, Stephanie's class are introduced to their new assistant professor - none other than Barbara Gordon. Stephanie approaches Barbara at the end of class and asks Barbara for some of her time explaining that she's heard Barbara could teach her a thing or two.

Later that evening Stephanie and Barbara vow to put their petty differences behind them and to help one another - 'neither of us is alone in this' says Stephanie. With that, Barbara presents Stephanie with her own Batgirl uniform.

In closing we see a great image of a smiling, confident Stephanie in her new uniform.

This was another nicely told story I thought, I particularly liked the moment when Barbara realised that Stephanie might just be up to the task of being Batgirl, I liked Stephanie's 'I'm Batgirl' moment, and the scenes where the two women committed to support one another. I'm looking forward to seeing the mentor/student relationships - between Barbara and Stephanie and Barbara and Wendy - develop over coming issues.

Excellent writing, super interior art and a striking cover - another great issue of Bargirl.

Batgirl #3
Point of New Origin, Part 3
Written by Bryan Q. Miller, art by Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott with Sandra Hope
Coloured by Guy Major, Letters by John J. Hill
Cover by Phil Noto

Published by DC Comics, October 2009, $2.99

[Batgirl #4 is published Wednesday 11 November 2009]