Penciller: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Mark Pennington
Colourist: Steve Buccellato
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: April 8th 2015
Nowadays, with the ‘reinventing’ of most, if not all of the DC characters backstories, and the new era marked by the creation of The New 52, you’d expect, upon seeing the name BATGIRL in the title, that the titular character would be Barbara Gordon, but you’d be wrong. There isn’t only one Batgirl though, as both Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown make their return to the Batgirl comics.
Leonardi, Dan Green and Buccellato have done a fantastic job of highlighting the fact that while the girls are both Batgirl, or at least have been Batgirl at some point in time, they are completely different. This is shown by their completely different costumes, and the contrasting way they hold themselves. The front cover also alludes to the fact that Red Robin will be heavily involved in the comic (sucks to be Steph right now), and Gorilla Grodd also makes an appearance. Steph hasn’t been Batgirl in a long time, and Cass, while not acting under the alias of ‘Batgirl’ but ‘Black Bat’, hasn’t worked alongside Steph for a while. The dynamic between the two is going to make for a very interesting first part in the two part saga that is Batgirl’s involvement in the Convergence arc.
Convergence is a much hyped about event for DC Comics, but I don’t feel like the artwork inside this comic properly portrays that. I’m not saying that Leonardi isn’t a good artist, because the front cover so clearly says otherwise, but things are drawn so haphazardly: there is so little attention to detail on some of the pages, it makes the comic seem rushed and unfinished.
In spite of the sub-par artwork, the colouring is fantastic. Being chosen to be a Champion of Gotham, and having the fate of the people of Gotham on Stephanie’s shoulder is a big deal, so it’s surprisingly nice to see that this comic isn’t dark. I think it’s a good thing Buccellato has chosen to use such light colours in this issue; nothing too dark and depressing has happened, so the use of light colours just helps add to the feeling that this is just a filler issue, and that the heavier stuff will occur in the conclusion to this two part arc.
I’ve always liked Stephanie Brown; I feel like she has so much to offer the mantles of Batgirl and Spoiler. Not only that, I feel like she is a good addition to the DC franchise as a whole. So I was so pleasantly surprised when I found out that she was going to be the
titular character in this arc.
But she’s no longer the confident, spunky young blonde she was famous for as in her Batgirl run. She was the kind of person to dive in first, and then figure out a way out of the situation she’s sure to have found herself in afterwards. Now? She’s a shy, easily intimidated young woman who needs help… and that’s where Cass and Tim come in.
Ordinarily, if the artwork doesn’t cut it for me then no matter how good the storyline is, I can’t get into it, but this is different. Kwitney has managed to make this work, despite not having fantastic quality artwork to back it up. But not because the storyline is sensational– making Steph anything other than kick-ass doesn’t really work for me.
What does work for me though, is the fact that someone as scared and pathetic as Stephanie now is, is chosen to be a Champion of Gotham. It is an intriguing twist, to say the least, and it leaves me wanting to see just how she changes from being a scared-y cat, to the fearless Bat we know her to be.
Overall, this was a rather disappointing comic. The artwork let it down big time, and while I applaud Buccellato and Kwitney for their hard work, it simply isn’t enough to save this. The current Batgirl series is fantastic… beyond fantastic even, but this simply doesn’t do justice to the Batgirl name. Stephanie Brown is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re going to bring her back as Batgirl, even if it is just for two comics, you need to give her something better than this. It makes her seem incompetent, and she is anything but. Hopefully the next issue will be better, not just for our sakes, but for hers.
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