The Hottest Batgirl Of Them All?
Advance Review: Batgirl #45
writer: Dylan Horrocks
artists: Rick Leonardi and Jesse Delperdang
with a solid new art team, the still relatively young title
Batgirl suffers from the same malady that plagued Green
Lantern for years. Despite being the version of the character
that actually sells, too much time is spent dealing
with an inferiority complex toward the previous Batgirl. (However,
nobody seems to care much about Betty Kane - the real first
must be a DC Bible somewhere that insists that this is how
you treat a second generation hero - heck, even though Wally
West has been The Flash for over two hundred issues, Geoff
Johns only recently got rid of the shadow of Barry Allen.
For some reason, this rule never applied when the Golden Age
versions passed the mantle on to the Silver Age ones.
my not having picked up this book in almost a year, I find
myself facing the same dilemma. Cassandra has far more legitimate
fighting skill than Barbara Gordon ever did. Part of her skill
includes an ability to "read" an opponent's physicality in
a way that even Batman cannot do, though it's possible the
powers that be have toned down this ability. At any rate,
though she may not be as keen intellectually as Barbara, this
new Batgirl is clearly the one you want at your back in a
to Cassandra and seemingly everyone else she almost confides
in, Barbara was the better Batgirl. If only somebody would
ask Barbara herself…
this issue deals with the shallowest aspect of the comparison,
and if I must be true to my fanboy self, it's also the aspect
where, yeah, Barbara wins: the costume.
the normally hormonally-controlled Tim Drake can't help but
be nonplussed at Cassie wearing the costume. "In fact," he
gasps mid-battle, "I can't believe I never noticed it before,
but you are one very hot…" Before he can finish, a thug cold
cocks him. Good thing, too, because Cassandra could kill a
man with just her thumb.
makes the difference? A casual survey around the office comes
up with "it's the high-heeled boots," which indeed become
a plot point as Cassandra breaks one. There's also the simple
difference that you can actually see some of the person underneath
in the original costume, rather than the stark black faceless
number the new Batgirl favors.
some ways, that's a theme to this whole book. Cassandra has
no idea who she really is under the mask, having been raised
only to be a perfectly obedient assassin. When a drugged out
woman accuses her of having no soul, the remark stings Batgirl.
Not only because it might be true, but also because she doesn't
understand the actual concept of a soul. In a somewhat too
clever parallel on Horrocks' part, the new drug on the street
is also called "Soul," making some people placid and turning
others into raging brutes (mentally, not physically).
quest, then, begins. But it feels like we've been down this
road before. At least the new art team makes it look fresh.
Leonardi's style allows teens to look like teens, and though
Delperdang tends to be a blocky, scratchy inker, he has learned
to tone it down a bit. It still looks like Klaus Janson crossed
with Jack Kirby, but that seems to be the unofficial house
style on Gotham-set books. Still, Leonardi's fluidity shines
through, making the book look cleaner than when I left it.
of Barbara Gordon does not elude me. It's obvious from the
excellent Batgirl: Year One mini-series that not only
is there deserved affection for the character, there's untapped
potential. But if we're going to deal with our current status
quo, let us just admit that any good "original" Batgirl stories
are simply going to be in the past. If anybody had thought
she was that cool back in the eighties, editorial wouldn't
have let Alan Moore paralyze her. (The same thing applies
to Supergirl and The Flash - their deaths were shocking,
but let's also remember that neither had a book by the time
those stories came around.)
Batgirl has held her own far longer than Barbara Gordon. So
let's let her accept it, start figuring out who she
is, and then explore the consequences of that. Even Kyle Rayner
finally accepted that he makes a cool Green Lantern, even
if H.E.A.T. doesn't agree.