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Your Mileage May Vary: Batgirl #1

by  in Comic News Comment

All summer, we’ve been wondering about the identity of the new Batgirl. And now we know, thanks to Batgirl #1, which just came out. Naturally, everyone has something to say about the issue.

It probably goes without saying that the following links and excerpts contain spoilers.

The blogger at What Is Techno Again? liked the art but didn’t connect to the character:

I wasn’t terribly impressed with Batgirl #1. Although I like the character—she does share my first name, after all, and therefore is cool in my book—it’s hard to get behind someone as reckless as her, especially when Brown’s nightly activities endanger others. Lee Garbett’s pencils, Trevor Scott’s inks, and Guy Major’s colors make a good combination for the comic, though. The almost simplistic, adventurous art style reflects the story well, and the shift to the flashback with Spoiler and Batgirl (Cassandra)—which I particularly enjoyed—acts as a well-illustrated contrast against the book’s present events. However, at this point it’s unclear where the comic will be going, and or if the character will take a perhaps much-needed change of pace.

Seb Patrick wasn’t surprised by Batgirl’s identity but found the comic decent and enjoyable:

Having been generally unimpressed with his work on his two-parter for Grant Morrison’s Batman, I’m surprised by Lee Garbett here – an energetic style with slightly cartoony facial expression, reminiscent of Todd Nauck and the like, suits the tone of the book well. Steph is appropriately youthful out of costume, and fairly dynamic in it; and in the cameo appearance from Dick and Damian (in Da Bungalow) he nails those characters pretty well, too. There’s nothing spectacular or experimental, it’s just decent and solid.

Which just about sums up the book, really. There are a lot of comics like this out there, doing an acceptable job even if only appealing to people with a bit of affection for the characters in question – but that’s not to say there’s not room for them, as it’s not as if everything can be Captain Britain or Batman & Robin. I may not have enjoyed this if I didn’t already like Steph as a character, but there’s nothing about it that stops me enjoying it considering that I do.

Livejournalist the_narration thought the comic had some serious flaws:

The artwork also has some serious problems. Lee Garbett draws all the individual objects and characters quite nicely, but seems to have serious trouble with spatial relationships and panel-to-panel continuity. A batarang in the first fight scene seems to come in from a angle nowhere near Steph’s position, and although this may have been Dick interfering (since he was watching the fight from afar) Steph’s inner monologue doesn’t match that. Steph, in a rush to keep her mother from looking in her closet, drops a plate of waffles with butter on her bed. I pity the bedspread! But Mrs. Brown doesn’t seem to find anything strange about this. Is she on the pills again? In the fight with Cass on the docks, the enemy that Cass warns Steph is “behind you” is in fact not behind her and seems to be rushing at Cass, not Steph. No one is behind her, and the guy she backfists in the next panel is someone else entirely. And what is with this apparent tendency for Steph to stand with her arms crossed when people are behind her with guns?

There are things I like here. Steph and Babs are both characters I’m fond of (both characters I became fond of, in fact, as the supporting cast of the first Batgirl series) and I wouldn’t mind seeing Babs mentor Steph. It would be nice to see somebody mentor her, considering that every time Batman said he would he never actually bothered to and kicked her to the curb whenever the mood struck him. Steph being torn between her need to help people and her insecurities makes sense to me given all the things that have gone wrong for her lately. But this book needs to find its footing and improve if it’s going to hold my interest. It’s dragging around some serious problems.

So what do you think?