There’s a lot to like thanks to the enthusiasm present in Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Sanford Greene’s “Ame-Comi II: Batgirl” comic. A fun setting, premise, characters and energetic art all combine for a fun, if thin, issue.
The beginning of this book is incredibly enjoyable, building a great dynamic between Barbara and Carrie, and showing them fighting some traditional supervillain crime. Palmiotti and Gray pack the pages with awesome superheroines and villains including Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Duela Dent, Steel, Cheetah — and of course Batgirl and Robin. It’s great to see all of them gathered here, but it’s perhaps a little too much for the plot, which feels rather thin, and the number of pages they’ve got to tell their story.
Strangely enough, though Duela gets a ton of page time and is set up to be the primary villain, I found her far less interesting than Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, perhaps simply because those three have such chemistry together. I did find Catwoman’s voice to be oddly dark and cruel, but other than that, Palmiotti and Gray do a solid job with the voices, despite the large cast. Unfortunately, the plot struggles to feel relevant. Duela’s decision to have Barbara dragged back to the secret lair in the midst of a master plan seems like an obvious and cliche idea, and it plays out pretty much as expected.
Though the writing is fun, Greene’s art is the star here. Loose and kinetic, it has an infectious style and energy about it that perfectly fits the characters and the tone that Palmiotti and Gray set. Some of the action is a bit confusing, but in general the pages are incredibly expressive and his take on the characters, in part thanks to his cartoonish style, is full of attitude and charm. Randy Mayor’s colors are delicious. A wonderful blend of almost what I imagine superhero and teenage angst should look like. Considering the massively colourful cast it’s impressive that Mayor can stay true to their looks without the book ever becoming garish.
Like “Ame-Comi I: Wonder Woman” this book starts out with a ton of charm and a bold new take on long existing characters, but the abrupt ending and thin plot (at least at this point in the “Ame-Comi” series) leaves a lot to be desired as a standalone reading experience.