This book had a rocky start, including a last-minute creative switch (as well as rumors of scraped plans to bring back Babs). After a mediocre first issue and a pretty bad second issue, the first arc of the series actually managed to finish on a high note. But it was the second arc when the series really kicked into high-gear. In that arc she found herself in the cross hair of the new dynamic duo, struggling for their blessing. Well, mostly Dick’s blessing but it was her interactions with Damian that really stole the show. Following the conclusion of that story she had a brief but memorable cross-over with Red Robin that was equally as enjoyable.
I was curious to see if the book could keep up the momentum when the focused was brought back exclusively on Stephanie and Oracle. If issue 9 was to be an indicator of what we could expect from a solo Batgirl, I was not impressed. It was a solid issue but completely devoid of anything exceptional; even its big reveal , which showed the Calculator as the culprit behind the nano-zombies, fell flat.
Well I am now happy to announce this issue is a great return to form. The calculator scenes still aren’t doing much for me. Miller seems to be trying to create a creepy/horror ambiance around him but it just comes off as campy. What really shines in this issue are the character interactions. I really love the initial Batgirl/Oracle sequence, mostly because I’m a real sucker for writing that doesn’t feel compelled to narrate its visuals. In this scene the visual narrative consist of Batgirl fending off a group of young girls from a motorcycle gang. However the written narrative is a conversation between Batgirl and Oracl regarding their mutual worry of the Calculator’s return. I am a big fan of this technique, juxtaposing a written and visual narrative that could exist independently of each other. It’s a very simple technique but one that I don’t see deployed nearly enough lately; either a writer feels compelled to give some sort of exposition or the writing is decompressed and relies exclusively on the visuals to narrate the story.
Miller is also killing on Stephanie’s inner monologues. Her scene with Nick Gage was cute, comical and quirky. Perhaps it also sowed the beginnings of some sort of romantic tension between Oracle, Gage and Stephanie (which I think could work given a light touch because of the Stephanie’s free spirit personality). This book is doing a great job at cementing Stephanie as the definitive Batgirl of the foreseable future.
Final Verdict: B-