Friendship Really Is Magic: Reviewing ‘Batgirls’ #3

by Scott Redmond

Overview

‘Batgirls’ continues to soar high powered by the depth of character work being showcased and the fact that the creative team shows no fear in building their own part of this rich tapestry and never shying away from why comic books are fun. Every bit of this series has a powerful energy that blends fun and seriousness in just the right proportions that make everything work. This is the book that Batgirl fans have been waiting for.

Overall
9/10
9/10

Superhero comics are great with all the action and saving the day/world stuff, but really what keeps many of us around is the character depth and relationship stuff that comes from these decades-old characters in a shared world. What started with Batman has grown so much over the decades that there is now an entire pretty massive Bat-family. While they are great on their own, the family of characters truly shines when they are able to bounce off one another.

This is something that is perfectly encapsulated within the pages of Batgirls.

What Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern (with Ivan Plascencia joining her this issue), and Becca Carey have created with the series is a fun street-level superhero book that is 100% focused on the friendship and family relationship between the three women that hold the Batgirls title at the moment.

There is a lot happening in these issues, where they feel jam-packed full of moments and beats but it never feels like too much or that anything or anyone is being shortchanged. Truly I appreciate that the decision was made to give these characters their own threats and rouges to face rather than taking the easier route of just pitting them against one of Batman’s usuals to start stuff off. Tutor comes with new ways to put fear gas to use, which fits with the whole recent ‘Fear State’ events, and then of course the deadly and pretty awesome looking Saints who are being secretly led by the deviously evil mega rogue of Seer.

All of these foes are being seeded in alongside setting roots in The Hill for the Batgirls, but what really sells the issue is their interactions together. Cass and Steph’s friendship is 100% goal, as they understand one another and support one another, and are there for each other. Just the moment where they both kept calling each other Batgirl when checking on themselves after the first Tutor encounter was so great. Babs is one of the best characters ever and has been perfect for the mentor role for decades and that continues here, just the scene with her and Cass passionately trying to convince Steph that she is strong and not a liability had me so happy.

There is a fun energy and comforting vibe to this comic while still maintaining the danger and thrills that come with superhero stories.

A ton of that fun can also be chalked up to the truly unique style of Corona’s artwork which nails the action and the regular moments with detail and weight but a whimsical exaggerated air to it at times. Gotham is a city with a variety of personalities within its neighborhoods, and nowhere is that more clear than within this book where this portion of the city just glows. It feels lived in with a deep history, and there is still so much to explore even within what Corona has already brought to life.

Not only is there great kinetic energy throughout the action sequences, but there is just such a personable energy within the character’s period. No two characters look alike and there are big and small moments, for example when Cass is angrily nodding/standing over Steph declaring her friend strong or when Babs thinks she’s talking to Dick on the phone, where we see and know so much about the characters without a word needing to be said.

The other end of what makes this artwork so fun is how bright but also muted and deep the colors are from Sterns and Plasencia here. All the purples are so purple and the reds so red and bright shiny greens, every bit of every page drawing the eye in with the variety of colors on display. Yet there are still the shadows and darkness that come with being in Gotham, which just gives even more weight to everything. It helps bring that fun meets serious vibe that this book does so well.

When the artwork and the colors are so bright and fun, the package is complete when the letters bring that same level of energy to the table. Carrey accomplishes that energy level easily. There are little changes done to fonts or bubbles that allow the words of every character to feel different, showing personality and giving them different voices, and great uses of bigger or bolder or more colorful text to emphasize at the right moments. Even the caption boxes have tons of character and color to them in a delightful way, especially the narrator boxes which add so much.

Batgirls #3 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.

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