Batgirl leaves Burnside behind! For a little while at least. Barbara kick starts a trip across Asia by going to visit elderly former superhero, Fruit Bat.
As a fan of the most recent Batgirl run, I came into <i>Batgirl #1 with high hopes. However, after my less than stellar opinion of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1, I also felt hesitant at another all-new, all-different creative team taking over a character that I really enjoy. Within a few pages, my concerns were alleviated. Batgirl #1 is a respectful and worthy follow up to the previous run.
Interestingly enough, the issue starts by pulling Batgirl out of Burnside. Before you cry foul, it seems this doesn’t take the Burnside out of her. Within a few pages, Barbara is already on the phone with Frankie checking up on her home turf. Frankie and company seem to have everything under control during Barbara’s temporary absence. Babs checks in at a hostel (apparently our red-headed heroine doesn’t watch Eli Roth movies), and quickly finds that her roommate happens to be her old buddy Kai. I’m not well-versed enough in old Batgirl continuity to know if this character is a new invention or not, but his inclusion and his interactions with Barbara feel organic enough. But is this reunion a coincidence, or is Kai involved in something darker?
I have to commend Hope Larson for walking a thin line with Batgirl #1. By taking Batgirl overseas, but maintaining her ties to home, as well as providing familiar characterization, she manages to make the book feel fresh yet completely compatible with the recent stories. I honestly don’t think I could imagine a smoother transition. This is definitely an optimistic take on the character, so fans of some of the older and darker storylines might not be interested. Also, more kudos to Larson for actually having a character point out the unlikely coincidence of Barbara Gordon and Batgirl just happening to be in the same foreign country at the same time.
As always, Rafael Albuquerque’s art is a delight. Much in the way that Larson is able to nicely bridge the old-new gap with clever writing, Rafael’s art is very compatible with Babs Tarr’s. Don’t read that as their art styles being the same, far from it actually, just that the energy conveyed within allows for another point of smooth transition. The level of visual storytelling here will ensure that you always have a grasp of what is going on, and you’ll always know what the characters are feeling. The pencils also have an environmental minimalism that contrasts with detailed character designs, which really opens the door for some refreshing work from the colorist.
Dave McCaig is the third pillar in the trifecta of talent present in this book. His colors mesh perfectly with Rafael’s pencils. The minimalism in the background pencilling is filled in with near monochromatic colors, broken up by subtle variances in hue. The result is something approaching pop art, and serves to draw the reader’s attention onto the action and characters in a given panel. This team has a solid grasp of the content, and should be expected to maintain their trajectory.
Batgirl #1 starts things off on the right foot, providing a more than smooth transition for fans of the most recent run. There is plenty here for fans and newcomers alike, and anyone on the Rebirth bandwagon will surely find a top-tier book with unquestionable talent on display. Pick your favorite Rebirth book and put this one right up next to it.
- Silky smooth transition from previous run
- Impressive writing from character newcomer Hope Larson
- Artwork is dressed to impress, this book has STYLE
- Why can’t this book be one of the twice-monthlies?