I’m back with a look at the second issue of Batgirls, written by Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad with art by Jorge Corona. I got a lot of thoughts about this one, so let’s just hop in and talk about it.
Unfortunately, I’m not going to get off to a very positive start. The plot overall is fine, but my main problem is how slowly the issue starts. We’re introduced to a slew of characters (that I’d personally never heard of before, so I have no idea if they existed prior to this or not), all given massive exposition dumps in the form of Oracle rambling about them over comm-link, spread out over five pages of a fight scene to give it some visual flair. While I appreciate the attempt to give a thorough introduction of these characters to the audience, the massive word dump for each page made my eyes start to wander, and begin to lose my patience like I tend to do reading the most extremely wordy of comics from yesteryear. It’s just not a great way to start off an issue, and honestly felt like a chore to read through despite the fun visuals going on in the background. It would have benefited a great deal from less “tell” and a bit more “show” in the approach.
Thankfully, once we move on from that, we get more of the sitcom-y antics that you’re most likely here to see if you stuck around from the last issue. They’re good antics, for what it’s worth, and they provide that homey, slice-of-life feel that is a lot of fun in superhero comics when done effectively. We also get some world building for the street the Batgirls live on, the people therein, and a good cliffhanger for next time. All of this is solid and I liked it — my only issue is, again, how wordy the narration can be at times.
The characterization is fine, but as I stated last time, not really my personal cup of tea. Stephanie and Barbara are not direct one-to-ones with the characterizations longtime fans will probably want out of this book, which I think is mostly acceptable, since this is trying to do its own thing without much connection to larger events in the Bat books right now. That does feel a bit off when, as I will note that like last issue, care is taken to making Cassandra’s dialogue feel as close as possible to her classic and iconic speech pattern. I think it’s a shame Barb and Steph don’t get that same level of reverence here, even though as a Cass fan I do think her characterization here is pretty on point, which I can’t complain about.
The art continues to be my absolute favorite thing about the book. It’s just so damn good, plain and simple. I’m an absolute sucker for cartoonish art styles, and as I said in my last review, Cass in particular needs very kinetic and expressive artwork to really shine to her fullest. Corona’s art is just so visually pleasing, and mixed with Sarah Stern’s coloring job, it’s just an outstanding book from a visual point of view.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling this issue quite as much. While it still succeeds in what it’s trying to do — and does that well mind you — the opening pages were a massive slog for me to read through, and that’s coming from somebody who HAS read a lot of old, very wordy comics. Sometimes too much is just too much, and the exposition needed to be reined in hard. That being said, the characters are fine for what this book is going for, and the plot is lighthearted and fun, which is the most enjoyable aspect of it — outside the artwork, which is out of this world great. If you liked what you got last issue, you’ll love this one too — maybe just skim the opening pages a bit if you’re feeling impatient to get to the good stuff.
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