The cover: Artist Clay Mann with colorist Romulo Fajardo, Jr. have made a pretty cool cover. I haven’t purchased any of Batgirl’s comics since the New 52 began, but this cover caught my eye and it’s one of the reasons I had to buy it. The Batgirl I’m familiar with stands before the batsignal, while below her is Mr. Freeze and the Penguin tied up and ready to be taken off to Arkham Asylum. Even if this weren’t a 3D Motion Cover I would have picked this up. However, when the book is turned to an angle a different heroine appears. Batgirl looks more like Big Barda wearing a Mexican wrestler outfit. Below her are three other women wearing Batgirl costumes. What the heck is going on? That was all it took and I had to take this up to the register. Overall grade: A
The story: Gail Simone takes this into unfamiliar territory immediately by having the book start two years in the future, rather than the traditional “Five Years From Now” that these Futures End one-shots have been starting with. Barbara Gordon is getting married. Naturally something goes horribly wrong and “Batgirl went away. And she never, ever came back.” What happens to her is akin to what happened to young Bruce Wayne. The story then jumps forward three more years with three women dressed as Batgirl confronting the workers in a chop shop, telling them to drop their weapons or “get your gangster asses kicked by the League of Batgirls!” That’s one heck of an intro and Simone follows through in spectacular style. The girls make short work of them and are contacted by their leader. Who that is won’t surprise anyone, but what this person looks like and now calls herself will. I was very impressed with the name of this individual, as it harkened back to one of my favorite Batman stories. Readers get a five paged flashback as to how this person was changed and by whom. It was extremely concise and could have been a limited series unto itself and I would have happily bought it. Student and teacher have a confrontation with a reveal on Page 19 being great. I was surprised by the outcome and the ending made me smile. I can’t remember the last time I read a Bat-related title that made me feel good. Thank you, Ms. Simone! Overall grade: A+
The art: Extremely well done artwork from Javier Garron on this book. His style reminds me of Amanda Conner’s work. It’s very detailed and clean. What does clean mean? It means nothing is obscured by artistic shadows, darkness, or is shown from far away, so that nothing has to be drawn in detail. Garron is the type of artist I appreciate. On the first page readers know that their going to get some slick visuals. The first panel is a great establishment shot of the wedding and the couple’s first kiss shows both leads clearly. When someone appears at the wedding the individual causing the troubles looks great. This person is not a costumed classic baddie but is believable, which almost makes this person worse than the traditional villains. Page 4 wonderfully echoes the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents, with a terrific emotional close-up of Barbara. Page 5 is a great introduction to the League of Batgirls. This is how heroes should always be introduced to the readers. The action sequence is solid. The league’s leader had terrific elements of the character from the 1990s. I love all that surrounds this character when she first appears in her new togs. The flashback sequence is also really well done. Heck, Garron makes everything on this book look good. DC would be wise to put this artist on a monthly. Overall grade: A+
The colors: This is how a Bat-book should be colored! I stopped buying all the adventures of Bruce Wayne because I was tired of having to squint to see what was going on in the art because the colorist had overdosed on the dark for the Dark Knight. That is not the case with Romulo Fajardo, Jr. I can see everything and he still maintains the dark, brooding nature of Batman’s universe. What skill! Someone ought to hire him to teach other colorists how to do the same with all the Bat-books. The League’s battle was terrific and the reveal of the leader was awesome. The flashback was bright, which was a different choice from other books that choose to go with faded colors. Fajardo’s choice works wonderfully. As far as I’m concerned, he knocked it out of the park. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Scene setting, narration, dialogue, sounds, and transmissions are crafted by Saida Temofonte. I wanted more sounds, but what I got was really good. Overall grade: A
The final line: This impressed me. I want to read more of the New 52 Batgirl after reading this. All contributors are to be commended. Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.