Time once more for me to look at and dissect an issue of Batgirls from the writing team of Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad, with absolutely show-stopping artwork from Jorge Corona. This one continues a trend of mixed feelings, so let’s get right into it.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Batgirls #3!
The plot of this issue is relatively simple, all things considered: There’s a brainwashing cult that’s targeting civil unrest in Gotham, and Stephanie is one of the few who is susceptible to its mind control. That’s about “simple” as far as comic books go anyway. Regardless, I think the plot is fine, and builds off the previous issues well. I still take umbrage with how wordy the book can be, often spending far too much panel time dedicated to long narrative captions or dialogue. Mind you, wordy books aren’t inherently a bad thing, it just depends on how much you like that sort of thing. For me, it’s a delicate balance, and I still feel this book needs to lean more on showing without telling as much. It’s almost there, just a bit imbalanced.
The meat and potatoes of this book has been, and still is, the characters therein. I’ve talked at length plenty about how really good this version of Cass is, and how she feels like she was plucked right out of the classic ’90s Batgirl Vol. 1 more often than not. Fans of hers shouldn’t be disappointed here. Steph is given some pathos about feeling like a liability because of her susceptibility to control, and we get some wholesome moments of the others comforting her, which is nice.
I still take a few issues with Stephanie and Barbara on the whole, however, and I can’t be as kind to their characterizations in this book as I am to Cass’s, as I’ve outlined before. It’s just simply not for me, and while I’m admittedly not as big a fan of theirs as I am of Cass, I still think I’d prefer something more in line with their ’90s characterizations as well. With how faithful Cass is, a more direct recreation of their ’90s group dynamic just feels like a missed opportunity. Still, if you like these characterizations, I can’t fault you for it, and you’ll be plenty satisfied with what this book is giving you.
As per usual, the artwork is just FAN. TASTIC. The artwork of this book is consistently my favorite feature, and Corona just keeps making iconic visual after iconic visual. Their take on the Batgirls is great, and the trippy psychedelic effect of the mind control affecting Steph is SO cool, and only adds to how much of a visual treat this book is. I really hope they get more work in Batman stories after this book, and just DC in general. They’re a superb talent that the higher ups would be remiss to not utilize more.
Overall, this issue is fine, or meh, depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re here for a wacky, turn-off-your-brain superhero sitcom, you’ve come to the right place. It does those things legitimately well, and I can easily see this being a fun read for the right crowd. If you came expecting a more character-driven tale of the legacy of the Batgirls, however, this book isn’t really interested in that. However, the artwork is spectacular, and easily makes it worth the price of admission no matter what you want this book to be. So really, picking this one up is entirely up to what your taste is telling you.
Become a patron today to get exclusive perks, like access to our exclusive Discord community and our monthly comic book club, ad-free browsing on aiptcomics.com, a physical trade paperback sent to your house every month, and more!