mattdemers's Batgirl #20 - The Lesson: Tunnel Vision, Part Two of Two review

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A little too light; needs more meat

I started reading Batgirl because I'm an admitted Birds of Prey fanboy; they really seem to balance the whole "light-hearted atmosphere" thing with kicking ass and taking names. These are strong female heroes that aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, and remain tasteful even with the occasional cheesecake thrown in.

The Good

I really love gadgets. "Suiting up" sequences are some of my favourite scenes from movies, and having Batgirl be introduced to a whole bunch of new ones (courtesy of Batman, Inc) is a treat. I like the fact that they acknowledge that Batarangs have to be manufactured somehow, and can be modified to the situation. I like the inclusion of Wendy from Teen Titans in this series as a whole. Her presence gives a bit of grounding: everyone else has had hero experience in one way or another, and she's still relatively new.

The Bad

It's twenty issues in and I still don't feel like Steph's taking the mantle as seriously as she sound be. I don't know if it's Bryan Q. Miller wanting to really emphasize that it's possible to be "normal" and still wear a cape, but Steph seems really, really ditzy at times. Her big goofy grin as she dodges gunfire and interacts with her own "Commissioner Gordon" just really puts a bad taste in my mouth. If we were supposed to take Steph seriously over Misfit, I'm having a hard time doing it.

Also, the villain-of-the-week format they're looking to give us (complete with the ominous mastermind) has got me cringing; it works for TV shows, but in comics is really downplays the growth and reflection that comes with dealing with a major threat. What's the sense in having the character be like "Wow, that guy was really tough! It affects me as a person through X, Y and Z" if there's going to be just another bad guy on the horizon?

The Verdict

If this were the sixth issue of the series, I would say that the series is just warming up and it should be given a few more chances: at this point I'm really considering dropping it from my to-read list. There's only so many spots there, and I need something with a little more substance. This is a great title for people looking for not-so-serious superhero-ing, and it really shows in this issue.

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