Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 07.13.2011 – Batgirl #23

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278
Pulls
Avg Rating: 3.2
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.2%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
Written by BRYAN Q. MILLER
Art by PERE PEREZ
Cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

Sometimes you read over 20 books and none of them knock your socks off but nothing can stop the Pick of the Week freight train as it comes barreling down the track that is our lives running this website, so you have to go with the comic book that you enjoyed the most.

I enjoyed Batgirl #23 the most this week.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Oh god, Conor loves this book. This is no surprise whatsoever.” I was actually surprised because I really didn’t love the last month’s one shot guest starring Squire and I haven’t really loved “The Lesson”, the storyline that has been going on since Batgirl #15. But Batgirl #23, entitles “Here Endeth The Lesson”, got me good and made me remember why I love this book so much in the first place.

Usually when I talk about a book I start with the writing and the story. I’m going to switch things up here and talk about the art. With much fanfare, artist extraordinaire Dustin Nguyen was announced as the new Batgirl artist with issue #15. For whatever reason, Nguyen only drew four of the nine issues since coming on board. And you know what? I am totally fine with that. I love Nguyen’s work–he’s a fantastically talented artist–but I don’t think he was right for this particular book. His style was too jarring of a shift from the previous (primary) artist Lee Garbett. You know who is right for this book? Pere Perez, who draws this issue. Perez has a clean, classic super hero style that’s perfectly suited to writer Bryan Q. Miller’s story. There’s big action, there’s drama, there are scenes that require the characters to convincingly emote with their faces, and Perez handles it all wonderfully. The six issues of Batgirl that Pere Perez has drawn have been highlights.

Just as important as the drawings in Batgirl #23 are the colors that bring them to life. Coloring in comics is a funny thing: If they’re done really well or really poorly, then that’s when they are noticeable. If the colors are done well you usually don’t notice them. Guy Major’s color’s are done well. They are skillful and not overly flashy and enhance Perez’s art greatly. These days a lot of colorists overly render the art, adding details that weren’t put on the page. Major doesn’t do that. His style is much more traditional and while he does add shading and light effects, as he should, his work never tries to overpower. His palate adds to the overall high quality look and feel of the book.

In this issue, the Reapers (a group of super-powered mech suit wearing criminals who have been tormenting Batgirl and me for months) have attacked a Gotham City Police precinct, killed a bunch of cops, stolen one of their mech suits out of the evidence room, and have headed over to Blackgate Penitentiary to bust out one of their buddies. Meanwhile, Batgirl is dealing with the fact that the kid who dressed up as The Grey Ghost (from Batman: The Animated Series) and had been tagging along offering unwanted help in her fight against crime has been found dead in the Reapers’ lair. Wracked with guilt, Batgirl must now head over to Blackgate to stop the breakout and subsequent riot.

As he has all series, writer Bryan Q. Miller excels at balancing all of the various elements of his story. While his stories are always big on action he never forgets that we’re really here for the characters and his are some of the most well-rounded in all of comics. Batgirl’s pain in the face of the death of The Grey Ghost is palpable and her guilt is movingly conveyed as she vacillates between quiet anguish and lashing out in anger. And then she shows why she’s a hero and worthy of the Bat symbol when she has to bottle up all that grief and go save the day at the prison riot all by herself.

(Actually, she isn’t all by herself. A bunch of Batgirl’s friends–Supergirl, Miss Martian, Bombshell, and Stargirl–show up to help with the riot in a great “here comes the cavalry to save the day” moment.)

And that all leads to a cliff-hanger reveal that I won’t spoil here but has me very excited for the final issue of Stephanie’s Batgirl story. It looks like Miller is setting the stage to bring Stephanie’s story full circle and that could lead to a very satisfying end to his two year run.

There isn’t a book in all of comics that is more well-rounded than Batgirl. It takes all of the elements that make a good comic book story–action, adventure, humor, and compelling characters–and executes them at a very high level. All of that paired with a really solid stable of artists has made Batgirl one of the most compelling reads over the last two years.

If you missed the boat on this series the first time around then you need to do yourself a favor and go seek out the collections because super hero comics don’t often come much better than this.

Conor Kilpatrick
Poor Grey Ghost.
conor@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. dammit, now i have to go back to the shop

  2. Great review

    But with Snyder’s Joker staring right at me with this week’s Detective Comics I can’t imagine the Grey Ghost could be better.

    Although making him sound like Adam West could help… 

  3. I knew this was my Pick, beyond the excellence of the issue, the way my heart broke when I saw “Next Month: Batgirl Concludes!”

  4. ConerI can only imagine this pick means you didn’t read Journey Into Mystery!! Or… Perhaps I should really start checking out Batgirl, just been shocked each time JIM isn’t the pick!

  5. Really going to miss this book. Such a shame. There needs to be more like it in comics.

    Thanks to Conor & Paul for recommending it. I don’t think I would have given a shot otherwise.

  6. But definitely going to have to jump into these trades (or buy digitally if available)

  7. Yay! Love this book and glad it got the pick.

  8. Yeah! Can’t wait to read this!

  9. I love Batgirl because I could give it to a tween girl who would enjoy it as much as Connor, apparently. All jokes aside this was my pick of the week as well.

  10. Amen, sir. What a book. Here’s to you, Steph. Hope you wind up somewhere.

  11. @jdudley your right jim was my.pick

  12. I love that I got about this far into the reveiw- “Sometimes you read over 20 books and none of them knock your socks off but nothing can stop the Pick of the Week freight train…” and knew that it was Conor’s week.

  13. JintoM was outstanding AGAIN. Can’t believe it hasn’t gotten any of the POTWs since it got the new team/title.

  14. What really surprises me is that this week could underwhelm someone. I had 10 books this week (which is a lot for me) and I didn’t rate anything less than a 4, which is pretty unprecedented. I thought this was one of the best weeks in recent memory.

  15. Skrilla1212-
    There aren’t suprises anymore as to who’s pick it is based on the book title.

    With the possible exception of Ron.

  16. Read this last night – loved it. Wondering where Steph’s gonna be come Sept…

  17. Interesting. Another pick that’s never been on my pull list.

  18. @Bootmobile  Good point. I had 14 books this week and with one exception I’ve really enjoyed the books so far.

  19. This was the best week of comics in recent memory for me. I really enjoyed everything (with JIM being my POTW—as every issue of that series has been!) and I’ll definitely be starting from the beginning of this Batgirl run. But meanwhile, the guys are missing a serious milestone series with Journey Into Mystery!

  20. I love this run too and have been picking up the tpb’s as they come out along with Red Robin, both of which I will be sad to see go, I know they’re doing another Batgirl but its not gonna be Stephanie and Red Robin will be in Teen Titans with an unnecessary new outfit when the one he has now is sharp. Boo.

  21. Lovely review Conor, I couldn’t agree more about the quality of this issue, and the series in general. Surely DC has at least a mini planned for Steph, whether she goes back to being Spoiler or takes on a new name?

    Given that my favoruite issues of this book were her encounters with other heroes – Robin, Klarion, Kara ete – I’d be very happy with ‘Kid Team-Up’. 

  22. Batgirl has been one of my favorite comics to read and I am really dissapointed that it is one of the comics getting rebooted.

  23. I really think we’re eventually going to see an all girl group in some form where Stephanie will be involved. Perhaps some of the characters in this issue and maybe Cassandra and Huntress? Supergirl says at one point “maybe we should make this a regular thing.” I think this is pointing toward something sooner rather than later.

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