Bringing Fun Back To Gotham: Reviewing ‘Batgirls’ #2
by Scott Redmond
While the internet continues to fuel itself on back-and-forth debates such as the eternal one about whether Batman should be “grim” or “gritty” or “adult,” the comics are forever reminding us that time in Gotham can also be fun. One of those Bat-family titles that brings an element of fun alongside the serious crime-fighting is the new Batgirls series.
Picking up where the last issue left off, we get to see Steph and Cass in action against a very zealous rogue faction of the former Magistrate along with Babs finding her way a bit more as both Oracle and a guide to these young women.
There are many elements that showcase how fun comics can be, and one of the major things that instantly will give you a fun or light sort of vibe is the art that brings everything to life. We get that instantly with the pairing of Jorge Corona and Sarah Stern which nails the action and serious portions of the book but in a way that keeps it a bit skewed and keeps the air of fun and whimsy there. Stern pulls out all the variety of bright and popping colors that make this portion of Gotham look so different than others, which is not a dig on the rest of Gotham or other art. Truly one of the beauties of Gotham and the various Bat-books we’re getting currently is the various art teams have such varied visions that all work together because Gotham is a city that has so many unique quadrants and bits of personality to it.
There are problems in this part of Gotham, but it doesn’t look like some run-down stereotypical “crime-ridden” area that we can sometimes see in depictions of Gotham (again returning to the mention of the grittier debate). It looks like any typical older neighborhood full of people that are just trying to make ends meet and survive in this city that goes through massive wars and upheavals from supervillains seemingly every other week or two by their in-universe calendar.
Babs, Steph, and Cass have such varied and big personalities so the colorful splashes that Stern brings, and the way Corona depicts them, and their world just fits them. One glance at the artwork here and what characters are involved brings one of those “Oh that makes perfect sense” sort of nods.
Lettering wise Becca Carey also meshes the serious and the fun aspects very well. All the caption boxes are colorful with a font that is more on the serious side, as it’s detailing things, while the font used for the character dialogue bubbles has little flairs of personality through the way words are emphasized. Not to mention the SFX which are all energetic and have their own looks to them, and I’m a total sucker for the codename logo font being used in conversation. Give me all of that and I’m a happy camper.
Often new books like this, where characters who haven’t had a series of their own for a while are trying to build something, have a bit of trouble getting off the ground as they have a lot to build. That’s not the case here as Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad are able to easily weave a tale that has the characters building up their new lives, dealing with their own new rogues, and fits in tons of more personal character moments and it all flows so smoothly.
Cass and Steph’s friendship is an easy selling point for this series, and they nail it, but Babs figuring out her own stuff and becoming more of the sort of motherly character she’s always sort of been to the Bat-family as Oracle is really nice. Having her doing Batgirl stuff can be cool at times, but her as Oracle who guides and cares for the entire family as like the heart of the Bat-family in many ways is always so great. Just the bit where she’s filling in the Batgirls about these Magistrate rogues over coms as they are fighting and drops in some little unanswered jokes and very parental type comments was golden.
No lie, the moment where Barbara is comforting Steph with a “You always have a home with me. Both of you” definitely made my eyes a bit misty. The Bat-family actually getting to a family again these days is the one thing I’ve wanted so much out of the line for many years and getting it just feels nice and comforting.
Batgirls #2 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.
The reintroduction and reinvention of the Batgirls and their world continues in their new title which is able to juggle world-building, villain introduction, and solid character moments seamlessly together. Every element of the book screams out how much the creative team cares about these characters and their world and how much of their heart and soul they’re putting into making this a truly unique and fun book within the Batman-related publishing line.