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Review: Batgirl #1

BG_Cv1_dsThe Batgirl you know and love is going global with Eisner Award-winning and New York Times best-selling writer Hope Larson and all-star artist Rafael Albuquerque. In order to up her game, Babs travels to Japan on a quest to train with the most elite modern combat masters of the East. But when a chance meeting with an old friend puts a target on her back, Batgirl may need to use her new skills to solve a deadly mystery.

DC Comics‘ Rebirth has been taking some characters back to basics in many ways and others are being shaken up in other ways setting them upon a new direction. Batgirl does the latter taking her away from her familiar Gotham for a global adventure. And that’s something I want to see.

Larson takes what’s come before and is adding to Barbara/Batgirl’s world on a worldwide trek. Of course, there’ll be bad guys she’ll fight and we get the first taste in this issue. And it’s a good and solid start though doesn’t totally blow me away. Though the comic says it takes place in Japan, to me what’s presented doesn’t quite give me the impression of that, it’s rather bland and generic in its look, though looks beautiful. If this is truly going to be a worldwide tour, I want it to really feel like one.

There’s a lot that is great. Barbara is her usual brilliant sell that’s also not 100% sure of herself and at times a bit clumsy too. She’s not the smooth Bat-family member like some others, but her brilliance, enthusiasm, and inquisitive nature is amongst the best. The thing I like most of all is Larson’s continuation of the fun and underlying positiveness about the character.

Rafael Albuquerque’s art is fantastic. Though it doesn’t completely scream Japan to me, what is presented is beautiful to look at. There are some great design choices and panel layouts. One scene of her figuring out the trajectory is an awesome touch and I’m hoping Albuquerque does more of this as far as how the comic is presented.

I think fans who have been reading Barbara’s adventures will enjoy the issue and new readers should have enough to stick around too. By sending Barbara abroad the idea is to help set her apart from the other Bat-books, but if this is really a worldwide trip, I need to see more to make me think she really is in Japan as opposed to the Japanese section of my town.

Story: Hope Larson Art: Rafael Albuquerque
Story: 7.6 Art: 8.4 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review