New 52 – Batgirl #2 review

Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat: every comic should start with a “Previously On…” page. It makes each book more accessible and it cuts back on page one exposition. I bring this up, not because Batgirl #2 needed a lot of setup, or because its opening monologue was annoyingly exposition heavy. It’s just something that came to mind during that opening page that I thought I’d share since I have the forum to do so. Moving on…

Batgirl #2 is just as good, if not better, than the previous chapter. A lot of books end in a cliffhanger only to have the next book start off with a flashback that eases the reader back into that sense of tension. Batgirl #2, however, picks up exactly where the last book left off and I like that. I also love the color scheme of this book. If we enter a post-apocalyptic world where blue and purple things are most valuable, this book would make you quite wealthy. I would also like to note that that last sentence is easily the most insane thing I’ve ever written in one of these reviews (so far).

The Art: Because I Usually Don’t’ Write About it Until the End
The first half of this book is non-stop action. The only problem is that Ardian Syaf’s otherwise beautiful artwork doesn’t work as well during fight scenes and can come off somewhat confusing. In the book’s flashy 2-page spread, h e even forgot to give her hair. The villain Mirror is a physically imposing villain, but his design is pretty forgettable. It’s sort of like Mask of the Phantasm (why can’t I just say “The Phantasm”?) and Mysterio had a baby. He even has a reflective cap lining. Yep! Everybody else looks great, though and there are a lot of rich details whether the story is in a hospital a graveyard or a stroll in the park. But I’ll tell you what isn’t a stroll in the park, Barbara’s hunt for Mirror (See what I did there?! Chris, do they give awards for internet?!).

Why Do We Fall?
When you pick up a super hero book it’s a certainty that the hero is going to be fine by the end of the story. If they were actually going to fail then you and the rest of the community would already be forewarned because whatever publisher would’ve already announced it as a big crossover event. What this new Batgirl series is doing exceptionally well is making you think that maybe Barbara will lose. Sure, by the time you’ve finished the book and sat it back down on the table you know it was a silly notion, but the level of empathy you have for the character makes you really understand her doubts and her weaknesses. She’s a character that’s forgotten how strong she really is and watching her regain that confidence, watching her get back up every time she fails and is beaten is what makes Batgirl one of the best characters in today’s bat-books.

It’s Ladies Night and The Feeling’s Right
I hate to break it to you fellas, but the ladies of Gotham have the most interesting personal lives. Bruce doesn’t seem to do anything but go to fundraisers, bang broads, and act like a robot around his son. And watching Dick re-visit the circus for the billionth time in between eating bachelor chow at his apartment isn’t exactly going to make him the spokesman for Dos Equis anytime soon. Barbara just moved out of her dad’s place and is going to have a rough time keeping her nightlife a secret from her spunky new roommate. Also, her dad, well…let’s just say there’s a single panel of Jim Gordon that’ up to interpretation. Why is it that Barbara Gordon and Kate Kane are the only ones who seem to have meaningful interactions with people in the daytime? Barbara even went out on a date in this issue. It’s packed I tell ya! Packed! She gets in fights, does detective work, has a moment with her inquisitive roommate and goes out with a guy who looks way too much like Dick Grayson, but then again every white guy with black hair and a square jaw could be called Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, or Dick Grayson, couldn’t they? But this guy even seems to part his hair the same way Dick does.

Anyway, this is a good book and well worth buying. Now…onto the spoilers…

There’s a car accident and only one man survives. The casualties are his wife and twin daughters. Tragic right? How does he go on? He wishes he was dead himself. So, instead of killing himself he decides to wear a costume and do research into what people miraculously escaped death, like how he was pulled out of the burning car and lived. He then hunts those people down and kills them because if he thinks he’s better off dead, then surely they will think they’re better off dead, too. Right? Or is that an overly complicated motive for a serial villain? Either way, Barbara and the rest of the cast better not see where this guy is coming from. This is not a Mr. Freeze level sympathetic villain. This is villainous motivation requires Olympic gold medal winning mental gymnastics. If Mirror isn’t acknowledged as being utterly insane in the next issue, this villain is going to all completely flat for me.

SCORE: 8/10