Thursday, February 21, 2013

Comic Review: Batgirl Volume 2

Volume 1 of Batgirl was one of those big surprises, because it was pretty good.  Still more of what I expect from DC than Batwoman’s more EC Comics vibe, it wasn’t ultra-silly.  And the way each villain reflected an aspect of her own character made things interesting.  This second volume builds on the first pretty well, pitting her against Grotesque, who isn’t a reflection of her, so much as a collector looking for a prize.  But the story does force her to finally confront the last barrier of her recovery, as she faces one of the men who was with the Joker the night she was paralyzed.  With that final confrontation and catharsis, Barbara Gordon and her alter ego Batgirl are finally ready to step back into the ring and become a crime fighter Gotham needs.  That brings us to the second major villain of this volume, and what appears to be the major conflict being set up for the series, Knightfall.  And there’s the reappearance of Barbara’s brother James, who apparently has a storied career in the pages of DC comics, of which I was unaware until recently.  Looks like he’s going to be involved in some serious trouble coming up, too.

There’s lots of action, plenty of fist fights, and henchmen bashing.  The art is fine, if not especially memorable.  And Gail Simone does a passable job writing, seeming to have toned down a bit of the false-hipness of the first volume.  Batgirl’s running commentary is still somewhat distracting and often contains the more groan-worthy bits of dialog.  But it’s not too bad.  The brief aside to deal with the Night of Owls multi-title event was distracting, especially since it doesn’t seem to effect anything else in the series.  But that’s kind of the problem with cross-over events.  I guess the big breakout at Arkham Asylum (which isn’t really talked about in that Night of Owls issue, but that I know about because of reading some of the other series) does cast a shadow over things.  Still.

Unlike Batwoman, which had such a dramatic shift in art style, and I would hazard quality, between volume 1 and volume 2 (so much so that I gave up on the series), this feels like a natural progression from the first volume.  And if you enjoyed the first volume, you should enjoy this one, too.  From those I’ve read, it seems to be one of the better of the New 52 lineup.  Not amazing.  Not a ‘must read.’  But if you’re looking for a Bat title that doesn’t suck, check it out.

Batgirl: Volume 2  Knightfall Descends
Author: Gail Simone
Artists: Adrian Syaf, etc.
Publisher: DC Comics
ISBN: 978-1-4012-3816-2


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