Overview

Batgirl #2

Review

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Batgirl #2

Credits

  • Words: Gail Simone
  • Art: Ardian Syaf
  • Inks: Vincente Cifuentes
  • Colors: Ulises Arreola
  • Story Title: Cut Short, Cut Deeo
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Oct 14, 2011

The Mirror forces Batgirl to confront her painful past.

Batgirl #1 was a great reintroduction of sorts of Barbara Gordon to the world.  Gail Simone brought a level of freshness and excitement that was vital for the book to break through the fan negativity which surrounded Babs’ return to the walking world.  In issue #2 Simone continues to breathe life into Barbara, both in and out of costume, while also acknowledging her crippling past that must be explored.

Simone’s masterful writing of Barbara, whether it is the self-doubt plagued inner-monologue or the confident one-liners the young caped crusader spits at Mirror, is a delight to read.  Barbara is a character that can carry an abundant amount of inner monologue without ever becoming excessive, which sets apart the tone of Batgirl from other Bat-books.  The former chair-ridden hero is simultaneously excited and wary about her return to the rooftops of Gotham City; instead of the Bat-Universe’s typical “grim” and “gritty” outlook, Barbara exudes a cautious optimism that establishes a connection with the reader.  The most obvious example is the paralyzing fear that gripped Barbara in issue #1’s cliffhanger, which carried into the first scene of this book; Simone chooses to acknowledge the painful memory of the Joker’s crippling gunshot, but instead of dwelling on the past, Simone pushes Barbara to both mentally and physically heal, to grow beyond her limitations.

Some may see this as a step back from her growth as a character during her tenure as Oracle, but in fact, Simone retains much of Barbara’s deductive strengths gained during her time behind Gotham’s scenes.  Barbara’s skill and reasoning which lead her to the discovery of the Mirror’s identity and tragic history is a respectful and loving nod to the intelligence of Oracle.

As much as Simone’s character work remains strong throughout out the entirety of Batgirl, Ardian Syaf’s art sadly slips in quality as the pages turn.  What started strong as a gorgeous and thrilling mid-air chase, eventually dissolves into smaller and quieter character moments where facial features fail to retain consistency and uniformity.  The first half of Batgirl #2 is, in all fairness, a great example of Syaf’s skills in both action and expositive scenes, but the second detracts from the overall product.  Hopefully, Syaf will recreate the beautiful pencils from Batgirl #1 and return the book to the standard of quality he set for himself.

Batgirl #2 is Simone’s love letter to both incarnations of Barbara Gordon.  Whether it be the positive yet hesitant mindset of Batgirl, or the confident intelligence of Oracle, Simone carefully crafts a book that does the character justice.

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