With the first issue of Batgirls behind us, I find myself excited to see where this series is going. Issue #1 got the trio together up, and left off with the exciting introduction of some antagonists. This next issue promises to build off all that and give us even more fun than the first, so let’s take a closer look at it and see if it does or not.
The issue as a whole dives deeper into the mysteries shared in issue #1. It introduces us to the Saints as big villains, but also explores the rest of the liveliness going on in Gotham as the girls continue to settle in, figure out communication problems, and find their place in this new normal of theirs. It feels packed with content. Cloonan and Conrad are obviously having fun with this story, and I love that. The energy is high, the art fun, and the characters dynamics really enjoyable, but there’s also a metric ton going on.
There’s so much happening in this issue that the girls have to sit down and actually talk about everything they need to deal with: The newly introduced villains the Saints, Seer, the serial killer haunting their area, the weird thefts and mind control happening, and their being blamed for blowing up the Clocktower. In addition to that, there’s even more going on behind the scenes, like Tutor –the popular street artist– being possibly evil, the return of Simon Saint, and the individual issues each of the girls are dealing with. Its a lot to have in what’s just the second issue of a series. Especially when a good deal of this requires outside context to really know who they are like Simon Saint, the Clocktower, and Seer.
On one hand I don’t mind how busy the issue is, it gives Gotham and the Batgirls’ world life. It’s bustling with familiar mundane elements like the weird maybe-serial-killer neighbor to the high profile like the Saints and their vendetta against the Batgirls. It makes the world feel full and exciting and bright and part of a bigger picture. I like that a lot, because I love a Gotham that’s lively and stories that feel lived in, and this certainly does. However, it is also so early in this series and I don’t want it to get lost in trying to be everything it loses its charm or focus, which I think is a very easy thing to do.
It can also make things a little confusing or easily missed. There are a few moments in this issue where I wasn’t really sure what had happened or why. One example is a reporter stating that Gotham isn’t safe until the Batgirls return, however Gotham’s got other heroes in it, and the Batgirls are still being blamed for the Clocktower blowing up–plus I’m pretty sure the Mayor hasn’t changed his stance on being against them. So context wise it feels a little confusing. It’s just one instance where I wish the story slowed down a little bit to give readers a chance to breathe and the characters to develop.
On the topic of characters, one of my favorite elements so far in Batgirls is the character work. I really enjoy how Cloonan and Conrad write the relationship between Barbara, Stephanie, and Cassandra. The three feel great together, and you can tell they’re close. And here, more than even in the last issue, you can feel how distinct they are from each other. I was a little worried last issue with how contextually I’m not sure how they decided to live together or why, but there are a few moments in this issue that feel like they’ll start to address that very question, and I’m eager to see it explored further.
The art is still a ton of fun. Jorge Corona is still on art with Sarah Stern on colors and they keep the action bright, fun, and vibrant. There’s something so animated about Corona’s art that really fits the style of this book, characters have big hair, big personalities, and big expressions and it pulls you as a reader in to the action and adventure going on in a way I love.
It’s also busy, but in a good way, a lot like the rest of the book. There’s a ton going on in panels, even quiet moments or simple features of faces, there’s extra dots or lines or just artifacts that add flavor to the art.
Again the issue ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it’s less an introduction of something new like the Saints were, and more a complication in one of the mysteries the girls are digging into. It promises conflict, not only between the girls and some bad guys, but possibly between the trio themselves in a way that could be pretty interesting. I’m excited to see where it goes.
- You don’t mind a story that has a lot to say
- Fun, energetic stories are your jam
- The dynamic of nosy neighbor meets vigilante meets troublesome teens appeals to you
Batgirls issue #2 is still a lot of fun, but it’s starting to feel a little busy. Busy can be good, here it makes the world feel full and exciting. It also has its downsides, like making the narrative a little confusing and risking losing readers in everything it’s trying to introduce and explore. Still, what keeps me reading and turning the pages is the dynamic between the characters, the Batgirls are bright, snappy, and just a ton of fun to read about, and I’m excited to see more from them.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.