Review: Batgirls #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Art: Jorge Corona
Colors: Sarah Stern
Letters: Becca Carey
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Get the low down on the Saints and what trouble can Cass and Steph get in when Barbara’s back is turned? Is Simon Saint really dead? And, prepare to “Rise!”
There’s a lighthearted quality to Batgirls in the first two issues that isn’t seen as often as it should be in comics today. Sure, things are serious, but there’s a sense of joy and camaraderie between Cass, Steph and Babs that is just likable. Cloonan and Conrad sell this hard in multiple ways in Batgirls #2. The technique in the opening sequence establishes this approach for the issue. We get Cass and Babs doing essentially the opposite of what Babs is advising over the coms. It’s not that they are being deceitful and disobedient, it’s just clear that the Batgirls in the field are facing a different situation than what Babs is envisioning at home base behind the computer. However, by the end of the issue, Babs realizes that Steph and Cass will have to be allowed a bit of freedom in their actions.
The opening sequence is extremely well executed. Jorge Corona does a wonderful job SHOWING what is going on as Babs fills the girls in on the Saints, Simon Saint‘s extremist cell while she tries to direct Cass and Steph. Cortona’s storytelling is clear and effective. The words and pictures fit together in a way that only comics can tell a story, it’s an excellent use of the uniqueness of the comic medium. There’s essentially three different things going on, but they come together in a way that is only executable in comics. To top it off, there’s a humorous bent to it as well. All in all it adds up to FUN!
It’s not just Babs and the Batgirls. At one point Babs is on the phone with Dick Grayson, and their conversation not only echoes their relationship as established in Nightwing, but it’s an interesting take on how Barbara is handling Cass and Steph. It’s nice to see Barbara in the older mentor position and having to explain to Dick she’ s NOT being a “helicopter mother.” This short sequence is highly effective because it not only connects Batgirls #2 to Barbara’s appearances in Nightwing, but it also tells the reader something about Barbara’s approach to Cass and Steph as well as how Babs and Dick interact and react. It makes it feel real, and reinforces the likability and relatability of all these characters. These moments sell these characters as people you’d like to meet and be friends with. It brings the relationships alive and make that the selling point of the series.
Jorge Corona does a nice job with blocking and staging not only in the opening sequence, but throughout the issue as he makes scenes which could be mundane and boring interesting and dynamic. It’s his choice of what he places in the foreground and background and those things that only the reader can see that other characters in the scene are missing. At one point Steph sends a text as we see her phone behind her back, but Cass doesn’t because of her position in the room. He adds the drama in visually!
We don’t want to overtax the creative team, but I’d like to see this as a bi-weekly title!
Like the last issue, Batgirls #2 is a joy to read. The focus on character and interesting technical execution make it another must-read issue. These are characters you’ll love if you give it a chance. If you’re enjoying Nightwing, it’s the perfect book to flesh out the Bat-verse. It definitely feels like the companion title. They are both character-focused and they both draw the reader in to the world in relatable and life-affirming ways that accentuate love, family and friendship.