I need some sort of form for this, to properly record what I’m going here. And until I come up with a good one, here’s something ad-hoc – basic info followed by summary and analysis.
Issue: 1 I suppose
Writers/Artists: Gail Simone, Adrian Syaf, and Vicente Cifuentes
Notes: the new 52;
Impressions: Starting at the cover, it looks inviting enough. The character looks like she’s based on actual anatomy, there’s a campy “Ah!” in the background, but noone uttering it. There’s bats, bats are good.
The short prologue with the murder of Graham Carter by someone named “Mirror” is alright. No quibbles on art or story – it does what a prologue is supposed to do, which is make you turn the page.
I found the art on page three a little confusing. On rereading, I get that she’s perched on a gargoyle, watching/listening in on conversations within the building, but the order of the chunks of images (the “sentences” if you will) was somewhat chaotic. But, if you have a character that’s supposed to fly around, don’t expect plain-jane 2d orientation, I guess.
Page four. Oh, dear. That’s some weird forshortening.
Still, I should register my delight that she’s wearing actual shoes, that, if a real world person was wearing, they could do all manner of things in. No over-sculpted stilettos here. I just want to know what’s up with that right leg of hers!
So, next few pages, where we meet the villain of the issue, who I’m going to refer to as Mr. Spook for now.
At least he’s dedicated.
Mr. Spook and co. have apparently broken into the apartment of the Ortega family, and are terrorizing the good folks in their own bed. Alright, that’s pretty much a universal nightmare, a pack of crazed killers invading their home, threatening all manner of gruesome things. And I like the art. But wait…
OMG, you scrapbook, too?! Oh, Mr. Spook, how awesome you are! Not only do you and your Brisby Killers go horrible things, you’re organized and nostalgic and crafty *like me!* He spends the next several panels shoving a neatly taped collection of clippings into the Ortega’s faces, which is still pretty awful, even though I’ve mocked it. Batgirl enters through a window with a rather campy “kerrassh!” and starts knocking out the bad guys. We’re treated to her internal monologue, about how much she enjoys doing just this. I’m still with you, comic, since that’s a perfectly valid emotion.
Continuing on, there’s a happy ending for the Ortegas, Batgirl goes off into the night, and there’s a flashback sequence to give us some insight into her character. Ok, she’s the commissioner’s daughter, her name is Barbara Gordon, former Bat-pupil, and the Joker shot her years ago. Ok, so we have a subplot, about her physical and emotional recovery, and part of that is apparently her getting a room-mate, Alysia.
To check in with some analysis, we have a young, talented, but conflicted hero. She has moments of vulnerability, some bravado, but is fairly believable so far. By and large, the art is idealized, but well done – it’s clear the team put a lot of care into this. Let’s hope this keeps up for the rest of the issue.
Right after Alysia appears, the giant shadowy murderer, “Mirror”, from the prologue pops up, in a hospital, shooting the security guard, looking for Theodore Rankin. Chaos ensues, and Batgirl/Barbara gets the text alert, and charges into the hospital. We have a significant moment during her confrontation with Mirror, when she realizes he aims his weapon at the same place the Joker did years ago.
BG freezes, and Rankin is thrown from a window, while the surviving partner of the cop murdered by Mirror whips out her gun and trains it on BG. And there’s our cliffhanger for the next issue.
Some more analysis: my original ideas still stand. This does not suck, there are moments of humor, believable foibles, mostly ok art, and no sexism, unless you count Mirror saying “good night, ladies” at the end. So far, I’d let a kid read this. And that’s not to say “oh, I only approve of family-friendly stuff”, because sometimes you need things that are not for kids. But, that hypothetical, comic-reading sprout is a good metric for me to evaluate how dark, or how gory, or how erotic, or whatever. Or how racist/sexist/homophobic a text is, if you want to go to the other end of the gradient.