Batgirl is an MMA fighter now and she’s getting her butt kicked. I guess Batman didn’t teach her well enough. Let’s take a look at issue #3–is it good?
Batgirl #3 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC summary reads:
“Beyond Burnside” part 3! After Batgirl faces off against a second villain with the mark of “The Student,” she must set off to Korea to get to the bottom of the mysterious attacks before someone close to her gets caught in the crossfire!
Why does this book matter?
If you read the first two issues you know Hope Larson and Rafael Albuquerque have done a good job separating Batgirl from the other bat-centric characters by thrusting her into an alien Asian world. A fish out of water, she’s attempting to get some dirt on an old school bat-centric hero, but dang it if fists are getting in her way!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
“Wha, what just happened?”
Rafael Albuquerque goes full tilt with the ben-day dots in this issue which give it a older school feel, but in a very retro modern sort of way. In one panel for instance, we see a bad guy cast in blue dots as if crosshatching her face (and making her look very guilty). It’s a striking panel that draws your eye to Batgirl and then the bad guy which almost gives the page a 3D feel. Albuquerque draws panels in interesting ways (like the arrowed panels below) and all the action feels very kinetic. The facial expressions continue to feel very animated and alive too.
Larson thrusts Batgirl into detective mode in this issue and it’s fun to see her deduce and figure out what’s been going on. At first you might think there’s a random encounter in the issue, but it leads to her figuring things out which will make you impressed with her in a new way. She also complicates the once-very-good-but-now-on-the-rocks relationship in compelling fashion, though we all saw that coming.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Much of this issue spins its wheels so to speak as the narrative does more recapping and reiterating than actually progressing things. Though it does progress, it does so in slow fashion with the opening pages and later the conflict between Batgirl and her bae. Since we saw this coming a mile away (it was telegraphed in a variety of ways) it doesn’t feel new or interesting, especially since nothing comes of it besides angry faces and dodging.
Is It Good?
Batgirl is quite possibly the most visually striking comic on the stands today. With a variety of artistic flourishes Albuquerque makes every panel and page a delight to the eyes. There’s also great detective work at play too. This issue spins its wheels a bit though and feels uneven because of it, reducing its score.