Review – Batgirls #1: The Girls Are Back in Town

Comic Books DC This Week
Batgirls #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batgirls #1 – Becky Cloonan/Michael W. Conrad, Writers; Jorge Corona, Artist; Sarah Stern, Colorist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown fans have had a long hard road over the last decade, with the two characters being erased from existence for a good part of the New 52 and relegated to supporting roles ever since. But now, finally, the two characters are not only getting a starring role but their friendship is front and center. After being briefly framed and nearly blown up, the two teenage Batgirls are headed to a new neighborhood with their mentor Barbara Gordon. Babs is trying to get the Oracle network back up and running away from the eyes of the mysterious creepy kid hacker named Seer, and the two daughters of criminals are trying to get a taste of living a normal life out of costume for the first time.

Moving day. Via DC Comics.

That’s easier said than done, as their new neighborhood is more than a little rough. Cass quickly gets mugged while unloading their supplies, feigning weakness to not give away her secret ID. Gotham is usually portrayed as crime-ridden, but Jorge Corona’s kinetic art gives this neighborhood, a chaotic, grimy, lived-in style that few Gotham books have. The dialogue is also just flat-out fun, as Steph and Cass quickly settle into being roomies, Steph tries to introduce Cass to the joys of civilian life, and Babs has her hands full trying to wrangle the two young vigilantes. I know there have been some complaints about Cass and Steph acting younger than their original versions, but this feels like a great, relatable take on the girls.

This first issue packs a lot into a standard-length story, introducing several new villains in only around twenty pages of story. The mysterious Tutor, a graffiti artist leaving messages around the neighborhood, turns out to potentially be much more dangerous than he first appears. Seer only appears briefly, but seems to be set up as the main villain of the run. And then there’s the cliffhanger, which reveals a major villain network may not be as gone as previously thought.

And amid it all is this trio of incredibly likable, diverse heroines. Cass’ sparse dialogue actually feels like her. The writers are even carefully representing Barbara’s disability subtly here as a chronic condition. It’s clear that this creative team deeply loves these three characters, and this first issue makes it feel like the start of something great.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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