Batgirl #3

Story by
Art by
Vicente Cifuentes, Ardian Syaf
Colors by
Ulises Arreola
Letters by
Dave Sharpe
Cover by
DC Comics

"Batgirl" is the sort comic that if you describe to a friend, sounds like it should be good, but the execution is a little lacking. It's frustrating because you can see just how it should all fit together, but for whatever reason nothing's quite connecting.

"Batgirl" #3 has three different sections: one where she goes up against the recurring villain Mirror, one where she visits with her father, Commissioner Gordon, and last but not least a reunion with Nightwing. But re-reading the issue, none of them feels particularly satisfying.

Mirror isn't a bad idea for a villain (a madman going after people who he's decided somehow escaped death) but he's not enjoyable to read about. He's in many ways the faceless boogeyman here, taunting from afar but not providing any sort of hook to make readers terribly interested. And while Batgirl's attempt to stop his latest killing at least tries to play with reader expectations (as well as a different way of stopping him), it's a mish-mash of an underwhelming "shock" moment and an unconvincing method of going after Mirror. I feel like we're missing pieces of the story here, that it's unfolded completely in Gail Simone's head but some crucial story beats didn't make it from there to the script.

It's the portion with Jim Gordon that the stiffness of Ardian Syaf's pencils are at their worst; if you glanced at the page you might think it involved store mannequins being left in a police station. Barbara's face doesn't look frozen, it looks fake. It's a problem that comes and goes throughout Syaf's run on "Batgirl" but there's something about these couple of pages in particular (perhaps the lack of high-speed action?) that makes them feel particularly weak.

Even the extended scene with Nightwing feels out of place here, to be more of an exposition dump (both in terms of history and emotional status for Barbara) than a logical next step in the story. Mirror's plotline is left far behind for the entire second half of "Batgirl" #3, and I'm not sure which is worse; that it feels so disconnected from the rest of the comic, or that not having Mirror in the second half of the comic is almost a relief.

I want to like "Batgirl." I saw a lot of potential in the first issue, but there's a spark that was present in Simone's original "Birds of Prey" run that just hasn't made an appearance. I love the gorgeous Adam Hughes covers, but at the moment it's hard to be excited about this series.

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