Comic Review – Batgirl #26 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“Did I mention I am only able to walk again because of a chip in my spine that connects directly to my brain?” Batgirl

Batgirl was one of the first series that got me into the DC ‘New 52’, back when Gail Simone was writing it and had her outstanding run on the character. This week it felt right to revisit Babs to see how she’ll be fairing under Mairghread Scott’s storytelling. I’ve always found Batgirl’s relationship to the Bat family interesting, sort of sitting within it but also outside of the key Batman and Robin(s) relationships. Set up fighting crime in Burnside we pick up with Barbara in a new arc against one of her recurring villains – Grotesque.

Cover art by Murphy & Hollingsworth (DC Comics)

This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Mairghread Scott
  • Penciller – Paul Pelletier
  • Inker – Norm Rapmund
  • Colourist – Jordie Bellaire
  • Letterer – Deron Bennett
  • Cover Artist – Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth

We pick up Batgirl chasing down Grotesque through the streets of Burnside. The villain Grotesque has been living up to his name with a series of horrific murders imitating modern art. It’s a simple yet effective opening which gives some of us who have been a little out of the loop to get to know Batgirl again via her internal monologue as well as Grotesque by his, well, horrific murder spree. It’s a little refreshing in a way to pick up a vigilante superhero being an actual vigilante and dealing with more day-to-day crimes as opposed to something that appears to be a world-ending threat. The story follows Batgirl’s pursuit of Grotesque and plays on some defining traits of her as a character, reaching back to her time as Oracle to revive some of her unique challenges that can be put to one side (such as her dependence on technology to walk). Additionally we get to see Barbara Gordon as Barbara Gordon, building on one of her defining relationships, with her father.

Art by Pelletier, Rapmund, Bellaire & Bennett (DC Comics)

The last time I read a Batgirl comic it was after Simone’s run and Larson took over, with Albuquerque leading on art. At this time a younger, more cartoon-like aesthetic took over from the grittier more Batman-like imagery of the Simone era. To me, Pelletier’s work felt like a well woven blend of the two styles. Batgirl in her more modern outfit, fighting crime in a realistic context with what feels like less of a gritty pallet from the series I was most familiar with. Pelletier’s pencilling combines well with Bellaire’s colouring and Rapmund’s inking to achieve this affect. I also like how the civilian scenes look, with Barbara out of costume she appears friendly and warm as a person whilst coming off as well in control of herself and the situations she is in.

Final Verdict

There’s something I enjoyed about this issue I didn’t spot until my second read. Batgirl is determined and focused on fighting crime. Finding a hero these days who isn’t racked by thoughts of a relationship, villain messing with their mind or existential crisis is quite refreshing.

Final Score – 8.5 Cute Avatars out of 10

Comic Book Review – Batwoman #1 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor spoilers.

“Kaaaate…. You… you came back… why did you come back?” – Raphael

Batwoman relaunched today (following her Rebirth issue), who has always been an interesting character for me. She always has held a position on the outskirts of the Bat-Family, holding a much higher degree of autonomy than any of the rest. There’s a strong team behind this run as well:

  • Writers – Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV
  • Penciller – Steve Epting
  • Colour Artist – Jeromy Cox
  • Letterer – Deron Bennett
  • Publisher – DC Comics

Cover by Steve Epting

The story picks up Kate following up on a white supremacist terrorist about to launch a venom fuelled attack in Istanbul. She’s running things herself with the help of Julia Pennyworth to stop the spread of monster venom throughout the world. As the plot of develops she’s lead to a mysterious small nation island known as Coryana where it appears she has had dealings before with the mysterious Safiyah. The dynamic between Julia and Kate is a very interesting variation to Batman and Alfred. Julia and Kate are friends first and foremost whereas Alfred is very much a substitute parent for Bruce. This adds to Kate’s character, leaving her feeling much more independent as a vigilante, than even Bruce himself at times.

There is also the question of Kate’s past experience at Coryana. Much is left unanswered at this point in time, except somebody very powerful lives there who wants people dead. What’s interesting is while there is more than one death in this issue, by the apparent same hand there is no obvious connection between the two, except the island. The assassin in question does make a brief appearance, quiet and very much deadly they form an imposing figure in the few panels they’re in.

Art by Epting, Cox & Bennett

The art feels very much grounded, with strong earthy colours used throughout the opening scene, these are switched up for darker blues and greys which create a more relaxed atmosphere between Kate and Julia. During the flashback a different approach to colouring is adopted, the panels are kept black and white except for Kate’s iconic red hair and Safiyah’s red lipstick. The use of red on Safiyah marks her as an equal to Kate in these scenes and we can be sure this is a sign of future clashes to come. Bennett does a very good job with keeping the lettering unintrusive throughout the issue, there are many large panels giving him plenty of space to work with. Finally, Kate herself forms an intimidating figure throughout, both in and out of costume her figure appears powerful.

However, how well does Epting draw hands? Very well of course. There isn’t much to fault for the hand drawing in this issue. They won’t quite pick up a perfect score as they don’t appear too often during the issue, however where they do – be it in a battle scene, carrying out and action or mid conversation they look great. 9/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

This is a very interesting start to a series. It isn’t the most explosive I’ve read, but it feels like its setting things up for a run well worth picking up.

Score: 8 Mysterious Throwing Knives out of 10