26 October 2011

"Batgirl" #2 (Dec 2011)

Cover art by Adam Hughes
Batgirl #2
"Cut Short, Cut Deep"
Gail Simone - writer
Ardian Syaf - penciller
Vicente Cifuentes - inker
Ulises Arreola - colors
Dave Sharpe - letterer
Adam Hughes - cover art
Katie Kubert - assistant editor
Bobbie Chase - editor
Batman created by Bob Kane
Date of publication - 12 October 2011
$2.99, 32 pages
Review of Batgirl #1

I went through my library and purged quite a lot of books, CDs and comics, taking them to Half Price Books.  Being the responsible adult that I am, I naturally spent a small part of the pay on some more comics; I bought Batman #400 and Detective Comics #601 at HPB, and then off to Barnes and Noble where I snagged Batgirl #2 (as well as Batwoman and Detective Comics).  It's been ages since I bought new monthlies.  At these cover prices, and things being the way they are in my life right now, comics are quite the luxury item and the few monthlies I'm reading are on a very short leash.  I say this to establish the context of my scrutiny for what I'm buying and reading these days.

Batgirl #2 picks up exactly where #1 left off, with Batgirl in the hospital staring down Mirror, who has just killed both a Gotham City cop and the leader of a gang that Batgirl apprehended in the previous issue.  Batgirl pursues Mirror across the city, and their battles are ferocious.  Eventually, Barbara ascertains Mirror's identity and why he's become Final Destination personified.

I picked a little about a few of the lines of text in the first issue falling short for me, so I want to praise Gail Simone for nailing it this time around.  Barbara's interior thoughts and verbal quips call to mind the kind of lighthearted adventuresome nature of Peter Parker as Spider-Man; she's not funny to be defensive or to show us that writer Simone has a sense of humor.  Rather, Barbara makes light of things because that's the kind of character she is.  It feels like an organic element and it works very well.

The only knock I have on the story is that Barbara goes on a date with her physical therapist during the middle of the story, and I don't recall any set-up for that guy at all.  They were just on a date all of a sudden, and I felt like I had missed something.  I'm sure most readers just go along with such things but I found it a bit jarring.  Then, I think I just wanted to get back to Batgirl and Mirror beating the hell out of each other.  (Which reminds me: Props to Ardian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes and Ulises Arredla for the gorgeous art; every page is impressive and each panel kinetic.  This is how superhero action scenes should be done!)

My only nit to pick is that on page 1 it is established that The Joker shot Barbara "three years ago" (in Batman: The Killing Joke); on page 2, Barbara thinks to herself, "And I am woefully out of practice, having jsut gotten back into the superhero biz after a several-year hiatus."  I don't think three qualifies as "several," but this is the only thing I noticed and, again, it's completely trivial.

I'm glad I took the chance on Batgirl so far.  It's a book I certainly intend to follow, based on these first two issues.