THIS WEEK: The book that I’ve been waiting all year for finally hits stands with Batgirls #1!
Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdicts.
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Artist and Cover: Jorge Corona
Colors: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Becca Carey
To those of you that have been following along during my turns on the Round-Up or in my monthly Pubwatches over at WWAC, you know that every time a Batgirls story shows up, I get really excited about it, so when it was announced that they’d be getting an ongoing series, I was over the mo0n about it, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting it for months.
It is without reservation that I say it was well worth the wait. Coonan and Conrad waste no time in establishing the new status quo, and they do so by immediately setting the humorous tone for the book. All three Batgirls are now rooming together, with the classic “sunshine one and grumpy one” dynamic of Steph and Cass to provide a good foil for each character, while Babs gets to play the tired parental unit, complete with “World’s Greatest Dad” mug that I have to assume she stole from Bruce’s cupboard.
Jorge Corona is a great fit for the art of this book, as his style is a bit exaggerated and cartoony, which lends itself to humor that drives the book. He gives a distinctive look to all three main characters, and I especially love the emphasis he puts on Steph’s freckles, as it’s a nice touch to really distinguish her and makes her seem younger and more energetic. The other fantastic thing Corona does is give us little sight gags throughout the issue, like the aforementioned mug, and the fact that Babs fell asleep reading a book on how to deal with teenagers.
There are a lot of great plot hooks in this first issue for the story to build on, with just enough teasing to make them all interesting. I think I’m most intrigued by the dangling plot point of the graffiti artist that’s taking Gotham by storm. Considering their name is “Tutor” and the brainwashed construction workers were talking about how they need to “learn” I have to think those two things are connected.
Also of note is Sarah Stern’s incredible colorwork. Despite being set in grim and depressing Gotham City, Stern brings a vibrance to the color palette that makes the book feel even more fun and a perfect fit for the character dynamics. There are lots of bright neons and it’s just a blast to read.
Lastly, I love the cliffhanger that shows how lasting the ramifications of “Fear State” are going to be. Simon Saint might be out of the way (for now, check I Am Batman for more on him), but his legacy lives on with the Saints. I love that all of them are named in reference to various real-life saints too.
Batgirls #1 was a perfect first issue for these characters, and I’m so excited for more. Really, I am just glad to have a monthly Steph book again for the first time since 2011.
- Batman: The Imposter #3 ended this fantastic alternate take on Batman by Mattson Tomlin and Andrea Sorrentino. The story was great, but what really sung was Sorrentino’s art throughout the whole series. This is one of the rare Black Label offerings I’ll definitely be picking up in collected edition.
- Robin and Batman #2 is likewise an artistic tour de force by Dustin Nguyen whose fantastic watercolors bring a soft touch to this Dick Grayson origin retelling. What I didn’t expect was that this would be the first meeting of the Teen Titans, and being a sucker for the founding five, this issue was a blast for me.
- While I was mostly reading Batman: Urban Legends #10 for the continuation of the Tim Drake story that got interrupted by “Fear State” (and it was great), it was Tini Howard’s Nightwing story that really delivered this issue. Doing a Gotham version of “A Christmas Carol” but featuring Nightwing and the Batgirls? Perfect.
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