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review 2020-02-20 03:24
A Fun & Compelling Refreshed Origin Story
Shadow of the Batgirl - Sarah Kuhn,Nicole Goux

Cassandra Cain has intrigued me for quite a while now, but as I've limited my comic reading (for financial and time considerations), I haven't read nearly enough about her to satisfy my curiosity.


Enter Sarah Kuhn and her YA graphic novel to take care of that. It was a brilliant idea to have Kuhn write this—as she explains herself in the introduction, Cain is exactly the kind of super-hero that Kuhn writes.


This retelling of Cain's origin story from the moment she decides to leave the life of crime she'd been born into and trained for (not that she knew that's what she'd been doing), through her meeting Barbara Gordon and (a new character for this telling) Jackie, and into her first steps as Batgirl.


Jackie is an elderly Asian Aunt figure who provides emotional security for Cassandra while Barbara is helping with intellectual stimulation (there's also a boy she meets at the library, but Jackie and Barbara are the foci).


I really enjoyed watching Cain make connections with people, learning how to redefine herself—it's an atypical origin story and exactly the kind of thing we need to see more of.

Goux's art wasn't the style I expected—I expected something darker, more angular, with a lot of shadows. Instead, we get something almost playful and joyful, while not detracting from the serious story. Goux's art fits Kuhn's voice (both here and in other works) perfectly and won me over right away.


This was a fun read, establishing Cain as a person and as a hero while telling a compelling story. I recommend this and would eagerly read any follow-ups that might come along (like the upcoming The Oracle Code.)


2020 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/02/19/shadow-of-the-batgirl-by-sarah-kuhn-nicole-goux-a-fun-compelling-refreshed-origin-story
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review 2019-08-06 00:00
Showcase Presents: Batgirl
Showcase Presents: Batgirl - John Broome,Carmine Infantino,Gil Kane Beautiful actress Yvonne Craig passed away in August 2015. She played the slave girl Marta in classic ‘Star Trek’ episode ‘Whom Gods Destroy’ (1969) but was best known for playing Batgirl in the third and final season of the camp/pop-art 1960s ‘Batman’ television series. That being so, I thought a review of the ‘DC Showcase’ edition of Batgirl would be an apt tribute. Rumour has it that she cared enough about the character to protest to DC when Alan Moore had her brutalised in ‘The Killing Joke’.

The stories in ‘DC Showcase Presents: Batgirl’ are lighter in tone than that, certainly at first. She didn’t get her own strip to start with but featured in those of other heroes, usually ‘Batman’. Her first appearance was Detective Comics # 359 in a tale entitled ‘The Million Dollar Debut Of Batgirl’. Barbara Gordon, daughter of the esteemed Commissioner of Gotham City, is a quiet librarian. For a costume party, she makes herself a Batgirl outfit but, en route to the do, she happens across Bruce Wayne being attacked by Killer Moth and his gang. They are running a protection racket where they beat up millionaires. The ‘masked maiden’ saves Bruce. Later the ‘dominoed dare-doll’ gets more involved in the case and acquits herself well enough to earn Batman’s respect and approval. Gardner Fox wrote the script and the assorted soubriquets for the heroine. Carmine Infantino drew her shapely form.

Her ‘shapely form’ was useful in issue Detective Comics # 371 ‘Batgirl’s Costume Cut-ups’ when she used her legs to distract a criminal fighting Batman. The overall tone of this story is not one likely to win approval from modern feminists. Batgirl fails to catch bad guys because she is distracted by mud on her uniform or her mask slipping or some other ’womanly’ concern The splash page for it makes the cover of this ‘Showcase’ edition. It’s probably worth mentioning that Neal Adams did the art for World’s Finest # 176, a four-way team-up with Superman, Supergirl, Batman and Batgirl.

Batgirl featured in Justice League of America # 60’s story ‘Winged Warriors Of The Immortal Queen’. It’s the usual Gardner Fox routine of splitting the JLA into sub-teams to perform individual missions but I thought Mike Sekowsky’s art was a bit influenced by Gil Kane, some of the figure poses being similar. Gil Kane was the first artist when Batgirl got her own strip in Detective Comics # 384 (Feb. 1969) and did his usual stylish job, beautifully inked by Murphy Anderson. This was a fairly regular 8-page back-up strip with one story normally spread over two parts. Most of the scripts are by Frank Robbins but Mike Friedrich started it off and Denny O’Neil contributed a few. These pages by Kane and Anderson are definitely the artistic highlight of the book as they do beautiful work. Kane is also inked by Vince Colletta, who does a good job in his own restrained manner. Frank Giacoia does a couple of issues but his heavy style doesn’t really suit Kane‘s pencils, though he’s an excellent inker for many and my favourite on Kirby. Don Heck took over the pencils from Detective Comics #408 (Feb. 1971), initially inked by Dick Giordano but later doing it himself, as he preferred. Heck isn’t on anyone’s list of all-time greats but he was a pro and turned in a competent job.

The stories are the usual crime and detective stuff, small-time gangsters rather than big-time super-villains. They are dated in the sense that the concerns of the time are reflected. A big-time gangster from a bygone age is fictionalised in a film called ‘The Stepfather’ in 1970. It took me 0.0001 seconds to get that reference. There are also a couple of yarns which feature rebels who want to bring down ‘The Establishment’. Denny O’Neil is sympathetic to the revolting students in Detective Comics # 400-401, while Frank Robbins is not to the gun-happy cop-haters in # 416-417. The former adventure closes with hints that Batgirl might want to get to know Robin better but nothing comes of it, at least, not in this book. The other contemporary concerns that get an airing are drug smuggling and corrupt politicians. The Batgirl back-up strip concludes with her leaving Gotham City to become a member of the U.S. Congress.

The last three stories are from ‘Superman’ and ‘The Superman Family’ with art by Curt Swan, who was getting pretty good by this stage in his career and scripts by a fan turned pro Elliot S! Maggin. Batgirl teams up with Superman, Batman and Supergirl in various adventures. They were okay.

Sometimes you hear a film is rubbish, watch it and are pleasantly surprised. That was my experience with ‘DC Showcase: Batgirl’. I read it with low expectations but they were exceeded. Not something to rush out and buy but if you like Silver Age DC and happen across a copy, it’s worth considering.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/
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review 2018-12-30 00:15
Batgirl #19 - Hope Larson,Chris Wildgoose

Hope Larson is just a delightful storyteller and I found myself wondering how the Batgirl and Penguin team up would work. 


Think about it: you never thought you'd read a Batgirl and Penguin team up, did you? 



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review 2018-04-21 00:00
Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family (The New 52)
Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family (The New 52) - Gail Simone it was setting up to be an interesting story when Gail Simone got yanked as the writer, and the following writers brought it down terribly, then she returned on the last issue of this volume and rescued it but it's a terrible shame. Could've been a great, strong volume like the previous 2 but definitely got bogged down by the change of writer.
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review 2017-09-23 00:13
Okay introduction to Batgirl
Batman: Arkham Knight - Batgirl Begins (2015) #1 (Batman Arkham Knight: Batgirl Begins (2015)) - Tim Seeley,Matthew Clark

I think this is for the video game, and so it's not the usual origin story, or not exactly what I'm used to anyway.   Still, it's fairly solid, despite the whole 'knowledge could get a young girl into trouble,' aspect.   


And yeah, being Batgirl could get her into trouble, but it could get a younger Bruce Wayne into trouble.   So if it's okay for him, why isn't it for her?   


Which is why I definitely think this could have been much better. 

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