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Batgirl #1

Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2008
By: Christopher Power

Adam Beechen
Jim Calafiore, Mark McKenna
DC Comics
Cassandra Cain is back in the bat symbol and standing on the side of angels, at least for the time being.

As a character, the modern Batgirl seems to be one of those characters that people do not know what to do with. They really want her to be a tough-as-nails anti-hero, but at the same time on the road to redemption. It always felt to me like this was an attempt to recreate the Wolverine style character for the DCU. Alan Beechen has done a good job in this book of taking the recent mess that is the Batgirl history and weaving an actual redemption story for Cassandra into this mini-series. She has promised Batman she will not kill, but that rule will be broken if she can find her father or Deathstroke.

Overall, not a ton happens in this book, because Beechen has to spend most of the issue recapping the Batgirl story for unfamiliar readers. This was good for me as I gave up trying to figure out what the heck was going on with Batgirl back in the Teen Titan's story line she showed up in. It gives you a recap of events with her father training her as an assassin, Batman bringing her into the fold, her falling out of the Bat-family and her drugged out manipulation by Slade Wilson.

There is also an extended fight sequence involving Batgirl and Nightwing. This is my major disagreement with the book. Admittedly, Batgirl did seem to be in Batcave without permission, and Nightwing has a right to raise an alarm regarding that, but, firstly, I do not really understand why the fight broke out, other than Dick reached out for Cassandra only to be stopped. Second, the fight goes on and on, panel after panel, without any real purpose other than to have a fight in the book. Finally, after being chastised by Batman and Robin, Nightwing storms off in a huff. The scene actually reminds me of the scenes when Dick left the Batcave to become Nightwing. In all of this though, there is an assumption that Dick is a hothead who works only with those who are above reproach. That doesn't really hold true when you consider that this is a man who hangs out with the daughter of a demon on a regular basis.

The art in the book is solid throughout the book. The movements in the action sequences are distinct and the figures are very well done. Batman, Robin and Nightwing all have distinct physiques, which is nice to see in the art. Cassandra is drawn as a lithe young woman, as she should be. Indeed, much of the art reminds me of the old Batgirl series.

Overall, a solid start for the book, hopefully next month Beechen can get into the new story that he wants to tell.



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