Want to take a break from the tension and the terror of the Death of the Family books but still want something Bat-related? Ame-Comi Girls is good for what ails ya.
Now I don’t keep up with the action figures/toys/figurines/statues etc. that are churned out but apparently there was one set of Anime-style super heroines that came out and was so popular that DC turned it into a digital first series called Ame-Comi girls. Today, the Batgirl arc came to print and so I picked it up because it looked fun and I was curious about what exactly this thing was all about. So if you are in the know about the toys and all of that you might be slapping your head at my ignorance here, but I’ll be giving my own account as someone who only reads the comics and had no clue what they were getting themselves into.
First of all, you don’t need to have read Ame-Comi Girls #1 to enjoy this book. So you’re in the clear there, don’t worry about it.
Second, push all of the New 52 continuity and any other timeline out of your mind. Wipe it clean. This is something completely original. It’s a world where it appears as if none of the male superheroes exist. Even the male super villains are girls. Wait, come back! I know what you’re thinking: Anime style artwork and it’s all-girl? I don’t read my comics with one hand on the page and the other hand doing…whatever! It’s not like that. It’s not like that at all. This is a fun, lighthearted read that I think is even quite kid friendly. I’m surprised by it’s T for Teen rating to be honest. There was no gory violence or sexual imagery so I don’t see why it wasn’t rated differently.
Right from the very first few pages of this book I was intrigued because not only do we see Batgirl but we see Carrie Kelly (yes, THAT Carrie Kelly, apparently she’s a cousin of Barbara’s in this universe) and a wheelchair bound Jim Gordon. What? Jim Gordon is in a wheelchair and Barbara is upright? What happened? What else is different in this world? Well, sadly it’s not a book that’s concerned with its history so we never find out how Barbara became batgirl here or how her father ended up in the chair, but we do have a great deal of fun.
I cracked a smile a couple of times while reading this, it’s all in how you approach it. If you want something dark and serious then you’re probably going to have a bad time, but I don’t see how anyone could see the cover and think they are getting anything other than whimsy. The artwork is very cartoonish, exaggerated and quite colorful. Only a few panels could’ve used more background detail but overall the style and tone of the book are a perfect match. Even some of the new character designs were nice. For instance, I much prefer the look of the Amei-Comi Harley Quin to the New 52 version. I also liked the more traditional Poison Ivy and the helmet in lieu of a cowl for Batgirl was also a clever switch that didn’t look half bad.
My complaint with the book is that it had no conclusion. At first it was paced to be a girls-night-out sort of adventure. A quick glimpse into what a typical evening on patrol is like for Batgirl and Robin. 2/3 of the book is simply them in a park fighting Poison Ivy and then a few more villains pop up out of the blue and they fight them while exchanging wisecracks. It wasn’t the deepest material in the world but I was enjoying myself. And then in the last third of the book it started to gain a plot, an end of the world scheme with an unseen villain. A great big evil conspiracy and it would take all of the Ameri-Comi girls (who were not mentioned anywhere else in this issue) coming together to stop it. And then…it ended. In a cliffhanger. I assumed, wrongly, that since these comics are each titled Ame-Comi: (Character Name) that they would each be a done-in-one story. Does this mean that the story will be continued in next month’s issue I take it? Will I need to review that one as well? I don’t know.
This was a fun issue and apparently there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. If you want to add some variety to your pull list with something Bat-related that’s also light and humorous then this would be a fine choice even though it may be asking a bit much at $3.99 when it feels more like a $2.99 book. I’m not sure if I’ll keep reviewing it in monthly form as the series continues to expand its cast beyond Gotham. If you’re at all curious and you have a few extra dollars, I say give the book a chance.