Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Batgirl #2 Review

BATGIRL #2
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott

The first issue of the new Batgirl series was an average debut. It didn't wow me nor did it completely turn me off the title. There was potential, both good and bad, for the future. Also, I still had interest in seeing Spoiler as the new Batgirl and a desire to find out what they were going to do with the former Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, who up and quit last issue for reasons I can only assume are editorial mandates as they made no sense based on past characterizations.

I'm saddened to say that, as of issue two, I'm dropping this title. It was a poorly constructed issue with weak storytelling and few, if any, redeeming qualities. Much of the dialogue is stilted and out of character, particularly in regards to Barbara Gordon. Many scenes make no sense either and fail to cue readers into what the writer is trying to convey. Off the top of my head, any of the college classroom scenes spring to mind.

One example of this is where the profressor starts talking about the "Devil's Squere". No, I didn't spell 'square' wrong. I'm not sure what the point of spelling it like that was or if it's a reference to something. Stephanie refers to it as "otherwise known as Thunderdome", which I thought was supposed to be some reference to Mad Max, but couldn't figure out what that has to do with Gotham's former West Quadrant or why Stephanie then mentions how villain's use Twitter. It just comes off as some garbled mess that left me confused and wondering what the writer was trying to say.

Another oddity is the cover. Batgirl is shown suiting up in Barbara's old costume, but it never makes an appearance in the issue, at least, not with Steph wearing it. It did cameo in the Batcave memorial case, but that was it. It's like DC commissioned the cover with the sole purpose of baiting readers during the whole, "Who is the new Batgirl?", build up to the relaunch. They make mention of how Stephanie can't sew, so her Cassandra costume remains ripped and torn throughout the issue, leading me to believe she may eventually don the costume, but I hate fake outs on covers like this.

The final problem with the issue was the big climax scene, which amounted to Stephanie going to a harvest festival/college party shindig and, upon finding a girl from her class drunk off punch, concludes people spiked the drink with a super drug. She then costumes up and goes and kicks the crap out of some random guys with no real evidence, proof or reasoning. It does turn out that Scarecrow is the big bad behind the new drug and that it's a derivative of his fear toxin in the drink, but the writing of these events is far too weak to properly convey such a development.

Verdict - Dropped. I wanted to like this new Batgirl series. Stephanie was given the cowl and one of the few people I was willing to accept as the new Batgirl, Oracle looked like she was going to return to a mentor status like she did with Cassandra and I was sure with Steph's friendship with Cass we'd see some follow up on why she quit and gave the costume to Steph. What we get is weak writing, poor plots, Oracle acting snide and snarky and Cassandra completely ignored in favour of poorly written and forced college scenes.


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