Let’s not mince words. During his thankfully short run on Robin, Adam Beechen did a hatchet job on Batgirl. It’s likely he got his marching orders from editorial. But even if that’s true, the execution was horrible. It was very clear that Beechen had not done a bit of research on the character or her history. There were plenty of ways you could have made Cassandra Cain into a villain. But I’d have a hard time thinking of a worse way to do it than the story arc in Robin.
After Robin, Beechen went on to Teen Titans. Again, his run was mercifully short. And again he did a hatchet job on Batgirl. In an attempt to explain away the nonesense in Robin, Beechen had Deathstroke control her with drugs. Lame. But at least it’s over and we can move on to bigger and better things.
And Cassandra Cain has moved on. She’s currently appearing in Chuck Dixon’s too-short run on Batman and the Outsiders. Dixon clearly has a handle on how Batgirl should be written.
Beechen, however, does not. So why anyone at DC would give him the chance to write a Batgirl mini-series is beyond me. But, here we are.
I’m an open minded guy. And honestly, I’m not a big enough Batgirl fan to hold a grudge against Beechen for writing some bad comics featuring the character. But I am starting to hold a grudge against him for writing bad comics. And the first issue of this mini-series isn’t helping things.
I was hoping Beechen would just start fresh. We did the Titans East story. We explained away all the weirdness with the League of Assassins and why Cassie was acting completely out of character. It’s time to move on.
But Beechen isn’t ready to move on. Instead, this issue recaps the entire sordid history of Beechen’s Batgirl stories. And by “recap” I mean that Batman and Robin stand around and summarize everything that Beechen has written about Cassie. As ridiculous as the actual issues were, they sound even more silly when recapped in text boxes.
Anyone who read my review of this week’s Birds of Prey knows I objected to the forced conflict between Manhunter and Black Canary. Well, Beechen has a showdown between Batgirl and Nightwing that takes the prize for Pointless Super Hero Fight of the Week.
And Nightwing acts like a real jerk. Like he’s been taking lessons fron Tony Scott.
This issue is bad. It’s really bad. It’s Alfred walking around Wayne manor delivering exposition for pages bad. Followed by pointless super hero fight bad. Topped off with text box summaries of bad stories bad. It’s so bad, it hurts.
The one bright spot for me was the art by Jim Calafiore. While he’s never been a break-out star, I’ve always found Calafiore’s work to be solid. Yes, his faces sometimes look too alike and sometimes his figures are kind of boxy. But his work is easily the most redeeming aspect of this book.