There’s something so odd about the idea of Batgirl going up against Klarion the Witch Boy that I suspect “Batgirl” is going to pick up some extra readers this month. Which, to be honest, is a bit of a pity. Because while it’s by no means a bad issue of “Batgirl” this month, this is a book that is normally much stronger.
I think the problem (that the book is just good instead of great, mind you) this month has to do with the story feeling a bit too easy. Stephanie and Klarion seem to almost wander through the events of this issue, watching pieces unfold around them, rather than having to work terribly hard to stop the rampage of Klarion’s familiar Teekl. The idea behind the issue itself and why they have to stop Teekl is actually rather funny, but for whatever reason the comic feels like it’s lost a bit of steam when the actual telling takes place. Even the epilogue sequence, after they’ve dealt with the problem, feels like it should be funnier than it actually is. It all comes across a bit rushed and hasty, which is a shame when you consider that Bryan Q. Miller’s pacing is normally much more even.
There are some great small touches the whole way through the issue, though, which will put a smile on the reader’s face. Dustin Nguyen switches techniques for when the book enters Limbo Town, shifting from pencils to fully painted pages. It’s a look that harkens back to Frazer Irving’s “Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy” mini-series a few years ago, while also helping make Limbo Town feel like a strange and slightly disorienting place for Stephanie to be.
And if nothing else, Miller gives Klarion some fun dialogue the whole way through. “My world! A wandering pack of harlots!” “These don’t taste like blood at all!” “I’m not a pilgrim!” If Miller had Klarion return on a regular basis, I think just in terms of sheer quotability we’d end up winners.
Still, at the end of the day this issue of “Batgirl” is lacking the normally strong punch that each issue provides. I suppose in the long run every series has its share of just all right issues. But as someone who loved that “Seven Soldiers” mini-series, I do find it to be a pity that it had to be this month’s that just turned out to be all right.