Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Batgirl, Volume 2: Family Business Review (Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr)

Move aside wet paint, there’s something else to tediously stare at for a while: the new Batgirl book! 

The current Batman is temporarily (and stupidly) Jim Gordon sans moustache who’s been chugging the handsome juice. He operates inside a robo-Bat suit and doesn’t know Batgirl is his daughter Babs – but she knows its him inside the Chappie-esque outfit. Hello cheap contrivance!

Need more non-story? There’s cheap knockoff villains galore from Co-Op (a pale imitation of Marvel’s Arcade), Live Wire, an almost carbon copy of Valiant’s Livewire (who herself is a copy of Marvel’s Electro), and Velvet Tiger, who’s just a girl obsessed with tigers - wow, what a memorable character, I can’t wait to see more of this White Tiger dude! White what? Black Panther? Can’t wait to see Black Panther in the next Cap movie! What was that about a lion? Ah, doesn’t matter. 

But watch that racing heartbeat because then there’s pointless crossover after pointless crossover because that’s never a sign of a floundering title! Besides mecha-Batman, Dick Grayson appears (twice), followed by Spoiler (who I actually liked seeing despite the writers turning her into a clown – Stephanie Brown isn’t in the DCU nearly enough), Batwoman, and Gotham Academy. The whole thing’s topped off with a wedding for one of Babs’ buds because whatever the hell, eh? 

This whole comic feels as shallow as a kid’s Saturday morning cartoon which is the audience I think they’re going for with this new Batgirl. It’s meant to be aimed at younger/female readers, like a few of DC’s other titles like Gotham Academy and Black Canary and that’s fine. I can’t really fault DC for broadening their approach as one of the main criticisms of their failed New 52 venture was the lack of diversity in their titles for their audience which they’ve now changed. But it also means Batgirl’s not really for me. 

Irritating tropes like having the supervillain monologue about their motivations, explaining everything in one big info dump, are used as well as redundant dialogue like the tied-up person yelling “Let me go!” as if the supervillain’s suddenly going to say “Oh, well, since you asked…” – relatively small things but they show the unsophisticated nature of the writing making for an immensely boring read if you’re an adult.

I couldn’t care less about the wedding crap and seeing Grayson risk blowing his cover (following Forever Evil he’s believed by most everyone to be “dead”) to try and woo Babs was so corny I almost puked. But like I said, I’m not the target audience – this is for the laydees out there. Girls like manga = Babs Tarr draws the book in a manga style. It comes off as that calculated and superficial. 

Hipster Batgirl’s obviously got her fans but I’m definitely not one of them. Batgirl, Volume 2: Family Business didn’t win me over in the least with its lack of a substantial story, uninteresting writing and weak characterisation. Though I’m not the target demographic and therefore less disposed to like this stuff, I can’t help but feel girls/younger readers deserve better than this condescending pap. 

After this comic, that wet paint looks more and more appealing…

Batgirl, Volume 2: Family Business

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