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From the Archives: Batgirl (2008) #1

batgirl(2009)0001Batgirl Rising part one: Point of New Origin

Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Penciller: Lee Garbett
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: John J. Hill
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Phil Noto
Publisher: DC Comics

[ This review originally written for and published at comiXtreme/cxPulp some time back while the issue was new–within the first days to a week that the issue was available for sale. ]

This issue opens on an action sequence. Cars take off for a race no one can win, in a scam that has drawn Batgirl to the scene. While she deals with the criminal element, we see that Batman and Robin are keeping an eye on things. Batgirl removes her mask, and we find out who she is. As she goes about her everyday life, we get a flashback sequence that shows how she came by the costume and what led to the previous Batgirl vacating it. Meanwhile, Barbara Gordon spends some time with her dad as they adjust to living near one another again (a plot point begun this past spring in the Oracle mini-series during Battle for the Cowl). As Batgirl is once again drawn into action, we see that she has a long way to go to measure up to her own ideals. The issue closes with her meeting someone who’ll be either mentor or foe.
The issue’s art doesn’t blow me away–it’s good, solid stuff, but that’s something I really expect from any comic I read. I like that all the characters I know are recognizable visually and not just contextually. While I’m sure there are subtleties I’m not picking up on, for a new reader such as myself, the style works just fine and does what a comic’s art should do.

My only real complaint with the art is the structure of the cover. We’re shown the title character from the waist to nose, with an emphasis on her…feminine curves (where the outline of a bat–her personal logo–is situated). I assume the intent is simply to emphasize the character’s chest-emblem since we’re not supposed to know who is actually in the costume. Unfortunately, the outline of a bat around the word "Batgirl" denoting the comic’s title takes away from that…and makes it seem there’s a bit of emphasis on Batgirl’s chest.

The story itself isn’t bad, though it doesn’t have me all that excited about what’s to come. I’m mainly interested in seeing what’s to come with Barbara Gordon and how she handles the new Batgirl than I am Batgirl herself. I expect I’ll give this at least a couple more issues to really draw me in. If I were to decide from this first issue alone, I do think I’d give the series a pass for now and see if anything develops, then play catch-up if interested in the developments.

All in all, a solid first issue as first issues go…and it’s very much to the writer’s–or DC’s–or WHOEVER’s–credit that the "mystery" over "Who IS Batgirl?" has been more for the solicitations on the series than some point within the series itself. That we have the identity of this Batgirl on page 6 of the first issue (the title page of the issue) allows me the interest I’m sure I would NOT have had if the identity was kept secret from the readers.

If you’re interested in Barbara Gordon, or the Gotham characters in general, or just this side of the "bat-family," this issue is worth picking up–at the least it gives you the debut of a new Batgirl, context for her and potentially where she’s going, and you get to see Babs’ story continue and where that may lead in the near future.

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Freelancers #1 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Wolverine and Jubilee #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

 

Story: 2/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

World’s Finest (2009) #1 [Review]

World’s Finest Book One: Nightwing & Red Robin

Writer: Sterling Gates
Penciller: Julian Lopez
Inker: Bit
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editors: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein & Michael Siglain
Cover: Phil Noto
Publisher: DC Comics

Granted, Tim Drake/Wayne lives in a world of the fantastic, where men and women with powers and abilities beyond those of Mortal Man abound. But in the half-year of comics (presumably far, far less than 6 months’ in-continuity time), this is AT LEAST the second time he’s up and jetted back home for one crisis (Black Lanterns) or another (helping Chris Kent in this issue). Seems somehow a bit disjointed to me.

This issue sees Red Robin dealing with a motorcycle gang, with a last-minute assist from who he assumes to be Connor (Superboy), but turns out to be Chris (Nightwing). Chris convinces Tim to return with him to Gotham to free Flamebird from Penguin’s captivity. The two have to work together to deal with this foe, who is aided by the Kryptonite Man (I do long for the days when Kryptonite was rare and precious commodity in the DCU!).

This is but the first issue of four, spotlighting interactions between the various characters that make up the “Superman family” and the “Batman family.” It’s a bit early (too soon, really) to know for sure where the overall story is going to go. As-is, I can’t help but wonder if this will read more as a series of one-shots than a single direct narrative.

The writing itself is quite solid, though–Gates seems to have a good feel for the characters of BOTH “families,” within the current status quo (though it’s beginning to seem like Flamebird and Nightwing are spending almost as much time being knocked out and one, the other or both being taken prisoner as Adam West and Burt Ward’s Batman and Robin did in the 60s tv show!)

The art’s good stuff here, and captures much of the feel of the characters involved as I’d tend to expect them based on reading them in their respective series of late. I do like the art, and find it a good fit for these characters in and of itself. Really no complaint there.

Since World’s Finest is here purpoted to be a mini-series–and thus one should be able to assume self-contained to the mini’s run–this would seem to be a good point to jump aboard and get a look at the various characters in the status quo of late, without having to invest in multiple lengthy, over-arching stories. Just four issues, peek in, get a feel, and go from there.

Based on that, this is worth giving a look-see. The creative team is strong, and we are given a glimpse at the potential held in bringin the characters from both “families” together. In some ways, this might just be “Superman/Batman Lite,” teaming the characters up without hijacking the individual titles.r

Story: 6/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 7/10

Batgirl #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

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