Batgirl was in Japan, but now she’s in Singapore in an attempt to learn more about an old bat-themed superhero from the area. Meanwhile she’s falling in love with a boy from her past…but is it good?
Batgirl #2 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
“Beyond Burnside” part two. Batgirl is off to Singapore! Following the mysterious advice of the ancient superhero known as Fruit Bat, Babs dives into the dangerous world of MMA fighting. But her first opponent may be more than just an adversary in the ring. Could she be connected to Babs’ new travel-companion-slash-maybe-crush?
Why does this book matter?
I simply loved the last issue, giving it a 10 out of 10 and I can’t imagine the quality would drop down enough to make issue #2 anything less than a must read. Batgirl is truly a fish out of water, but with her spunk and positivity can she ever be down and out?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Recap and mini mission GO!
As if to remind us Batgirl is in a different land, writer Hope Larson opens the issue with Batgirl cracking down on a peeping tom. In the first masterfully economical page Larson reminds us what Batgirl is after, that she’s in a strange new land, and gives her a mini mission to accomplish. We then get a neat page detailing the detective side of Batgirl, her relationship with Kai gets more complicated, and Batgirl starts to train in MMA. A lot happens, the plot thickens, and there’s plenty of action.
I was surprised to find a romance budding in this issue and it’s a compelling one. First off, it’s with a boy Batgirl grew up with who can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. That’ll make things tricky moving forward. On top of that, something shady is going down with him and his private time, which enhances the intrigue.
Rafael Albuquerque draws yet another great issue. There’s a “K.O.” panel that’s straight out of Street Fighter and it’s hard not to enjoy Barbara’s spunky attitude via Albuquerque’s facial expressions. I really dig how he draws Batgirl’s costume too, with some crazy high boots and some killer gloves to go with it. The cape itself is expressive as well. Albuquerque shines particularly well when Barbara has moments of reflection or extreme emotion. Three times in this issue Albuquerque focuses on her face and lights it up and gives her a unique look that strikes the reader. From shock at a detail that helps her clue in on the bad guy, to feeling love, to seeing something for the first time, Albuquerque makes these little moments feel big.
It can’t be perfect can it?
While it’s interesting to see the cultural elements used in the story, it does feel as though it’s dragging a bit when Barbara talks about girls in MMA in Singapore. Larson seems to be focusing in on women in the MMA in Asia as a limited or frowned upon element, but it feels as though it’s getting away from the drama and main thrust of the story. Ultimately, we know why she’s there – especially with the reveal near the end – but some precious time is used to develop an MMA gym owner that doesn’t do enough to make us feel like we know her. We’ll see where this character goes from here–most likely developed further, but it’s a wash in this issue.
Boys are tricky.
Is It Good?
Whether it’s being kicked in the face or kissed, Batgirl has a ton of charm and you’ll root her on all the way.