Carrie Kelly? Why her? Really? WTF DC?! ~possible spoilers~
Time for another Retrospective! Issues 55-78. For the few who have kept up with my Retrospective, I’ll be going at these issues a bit differently. Mostly I’m going to try to go through each arc rather quickly. This is mostly for the next few arcs I didn’t find that enjoyable.
Batgirl‘s opening arc, ending with this issue, was brief and uninspired. That’s not to say it was bad; it was inoffensive enough, if nothing else. In it, Stephanie proved herself worthy of becoming the next Batgirl in Barbara’s eyes, got a new costume, took one college course, and had it tie (thematically) directly into her case. We know it tied in to her case thematically because Miller, over the course of this issue, tells us so. More than once.
Garbett continues to turn in respectable work. His style is a little too broad for some of the book’s more dramatic moments and the Scarecrow sequences were relatively bland, but he maintains a level of quality that the book needs.
Batgirl is a reasonably acceptable standard superhero book. It has its share of narrative flaws, but when it comes right down to it, it isn’t trying to do anything terribly complex. It’s straightforward plotting is hampered by inconsistent characterization; it’s action sequences by a lack of compelling build-up or follow-through. Fans of Stephanie Brown may enjoy the hero’s rise to prominence and the journey to restore and bolster her confidence, but most readers can find the same content in a hundred other places.
– Cal Cleary
If there was one word to describe Batgirl #1, it was probably this: average. It had reasonably competent action sequences, but suffered in the character-driven drama. Even if you hadn’t read enough past Bat-books to see how horrendously out-of-character Barbara Gordon was, say, or Cassandra Cain especially, the fact of the matter is that the characters weren’t terribly interesting. Except for Stephanie, of course, which is vital to why the book was readable at all.
Batgirl #2 continues along the same trend. It is, in fact, almost the exact same issue. Stephanie is having trouble balancing her normal life with her new career as Batgirl – and, in a much better twist on the same old idea, having just as much trouble adjusting to the new dangers and responsibilities of being Batgirl over being the Spoiler – Babs is trying to convince her to quit, Stephanie’s mom is oblivious, crime is happening. There isn’t a whole lot going on, but at least what’s going on has the potential to be interesting.
Garbett is faring slightly better. His illustration throughout is clean and crisp, with solid, fluid fight scenes. There’s on scene in the middle that’s a little tough to follow, though I don’t know if that’s Miller, Garbett, or an indicator of a communications issue between the two. Still, Garbett’s workmanlike skill is currently holding the book up.
Still, there are flashes of a genuinely enjoyable comic in here. The action is well-handled, and there are interesting characters here… assuming that Miller ever gets a handle on them. Batgirl #2 continues to be purely average, but given some of the recent Batgirl publications we’ve seen, that may be the best we can expect for now. I’m willing to give Miller an arc to grow into the character. Right now, it could go either way.
– Cal Cleary