Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Batgirl #1 Review

BATGIRL #1
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott

As DC's The Source blog was quick to point out, the new Batgirl is Stephanie Brown, aka Spoiler. I like seeing Spoiler get some recognition. It's not the most shocking reveal, but I'm glad DC didn't dick around with it or drag it out over the course of a six issue arc. In fact, they reveal the new Batgirl within the first five pages or so, just after a brief introductory bit of gratuitous violence.

One thing I liked about this reveal was that Bryan Miller clearly gets Stephanie's character. She's not Batgirl and she's still fairly green, at least in comparison to the other Bat-people. Both Batman and Robin both picked up on this not being the same Batgirl that led the League of Assassins and Outsiders, too, which was a nice touch. I especially liked the flashback sequences showing off Batgirl and Spoiler. This had hints of the original Batgirl series and the friendship these two had before all the drugs and leading of assassins and other nonsense DC put Cassandra through.

However, that good will was quickly scuttled with the reasons for Batgirl quitting. She claims with Bruce Wayne dead, it doesn't matter anymore and she's done, too. She promptly strips and tosses the costume at Spoiler before jumping off a rooftop and disappearing. Anyone that's read the original Batgirl series will know Cassandra specifically said she doesn't fight for Bruce or Batman, but that her motivation was for the symbol - for what Batman represents. The whole scene read like Miller was cut off midstream and told to get rid of Cassandra by editorial or that someone slipped the page in without his knowing.

With the reasons for Spoiler being Batgirl out of the way, Miller focused on Stephanie's civilian life. She's "quit" being Spoiler and claimed the Batgirl thing was a one time deal. She's living with her mother and is currently enrolled in university as well. It's a nice setup for an ongoing, assuming they continue to focus on Stephanie, of course.

Speaking of which, Barbara Gordan and Wendy Harris, the recently crippled ex-Teen Titan person that was in Oracle: The Cure, were in this issue. They are still playing up the 'woe is me' aspect of Barbara's handicap, one which she has never really shown before to my knowledge, at least not in the last decade or so. Now it's all about how she wishes she was out fighting crime instead of stuck at a computer and other such sentiments. Barbara showed up at Steph's house at the end of the issue with a stern look and a 'we need to talk' speech. Either she steps up as a mentor or demands Spoiler quit as Batgirl. With the silouhette cover for the November solicits looking like Misfit, I'm guessing she may quit or we'll have a team of Batgirls on the loose. Either that or a new costume.

Verdict - Check It. Mild complaints aside, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this issue. One of the stronger Batman Reborn relaunch issues. Wanted to see more on Cassie and why she quit, but will with hold judgement on that for a few issues as they establish this new status quo.


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