Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Color Art: Dave McCaig
Batgilr #2 was my most looked forward to book of the week in the first ever New Comic Book Day Top 5, and it did not disappoint. Picking up where last issue left off we find Batgirl in Singapore chasing down a purple drone that’s making it’s getaway. Batgirl wonders if this drone is on a secret mission to gather information about her and her traveling partner Kai (whom Batgirl has history with). It turns out that the drone is nothing as Batgirl follows it back to it’s base and it turns out to be operated by a simple pervert. Not quite what Batgirl expected. During the chase scene Batgirl repeats the mantra that the Fruit Bat told her “You can’t see the future when the past is standing in your way”. This comes in to play later in the issue. Batgirl then uses her photographic memory to replay the fight she had with the killer schoolgirl from the previous issue. After playing through that memory a few times she notices a detail that she had previously missed. A tattoo that translates into “pupil” or “student”. Batgirl then wonders what the tattoo means.The following morning she has an awkward and clumsy discussion with Kai, who she realizes she is starting to have feelings for. This leads to one of my favorite pieces of inner dialogue I’ve ever read in a Batgirl comic. The dialogue is Batgirl questioning herself in a vulnerable way, and ending with her saying she needs to see a therapist in a half joking manner. The way Larson writes Batgirl is interesting because there are several moment where we see the vulnerable young adult that Batgirl is, but we also see that even though she is vulnerable (like all of us in the world) that doesn’t make her weak. She doesn’t succumb to the vulnerability, instead she uses it to keep herself grounded and not lose her identity as Barbara Gordon completely to Batgirl.
In the first issue the whole reason why Batgirl want’s to go to Singapore is to try out for a MMA group called Adapt. Upon inquiring about working out with Adapt she is first mistaken for a ring girl and then informed that they no longer accept female fighters. After her discussion with the receptionist she is told about a different gym that would train her that is owned by a women named May Hao who, we learn, lived in Gotham up until recently when she returned to Singapore. May promptly accepts to train Batgirl and even sets up a fight for the following Friday between her and MMA Wen Lu from China. This acceptance of Batgirl and setting up of a fight for her seems to easy to me. Combine that with the fact that May used to live in Gotham and something smells fishy here. during the fight Batgirl seems to have an upper hand but (gasp) Wen has a tattoo on her arm that matched the one on the Killer school girls arm, noticing this Batgirl is distracted and knocked out by Wen. I fell like there is more to May than meets the eye. Maybe May is the teacher of these students, or maybe she knows more about Batgirl’s secret mission than she is letting on.
Now at the beginning of the review I told you what Batgirl kept repeating from her meeting with the Fruit Bat “”You can’t see the future when the past is standing in your way”, well while Batgirl is training for her fight there is also a montage of a romantic involvement with Kai. While Batgirl is interested in him she is confused as to why. She doesn’t know if it’s because she has a past with him or if it’s because he’s changed. Throughout the issue he trys to show Batgirl how much he’s changed by taking her on a romantic dip in a high rise pool, and telling her he has a real job. The romance of the night won over and Batgirl gave him a kiss. A kiss that she immediately regretted. All of this just confuses Batgirl more and more. I’d tell you what happened but I don’t want to spoil it for you. So go buy this comic and read it for yourself.
The art in this issue is excellent Albuquerque continues the stylistic elements from issue one. with backgrounds lacking somewhat in detail adding to the over all style of the book. Albuquerque is fantastic at conveying a sense of movement with his characters. During the fighting montage especially. The punches leap off the page and really make you feel like the are moving. Albuquerque often draws close up on faces in order to draw out emotion from their facial expressions. This issue was very successful in that regard. The color art work by Dave McCaig was superb a well. McCaig continued to use solid color backgrounds to help make the figures pop. This technique works especially well during action sequences. McCaig also uses different palettes to evoke a sense of time to the pages. For instance in the scenes set in morning, he uses a lot of greens and blues to convey a sense of beginning. During the romantic rooftop pool scene it’s set in the evening and palettes witches to a more yellow, orange and brown palette to make it appear as though the characters are being bathed in the last light of day.
Overall this issue just works on so many levels. The whole creative team is really jelling well and because of this they have been able to create something that has the potential of being very, very special. Below I have included the two covers the title shipped with.