11 May 2016

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Gotham, Part XXII: Batman: Batgirl

Comic trade paperback, 47 pages
Published 1997

Borrowed from the library
Read October 2015
Batman: Batgirl

Written by Kelley Puckett
Pencilled by Matt Haley
Inked by Karl Kesel
Colored by Kevin Somers
Lettered by Willie Schubert

Year Five, April
This weirdly titled book takes place early during Batgirl's career-- possibly during Batgirl: Year One-- and details Barbara Gordon's first encounter with the Joker. Obviously this an event of some retroactive significance, given what the Joker will later do to Barbara, and indeed, Kelley Puckett depicts the Joker as something outside of Barabara's experience or understanding. But it's still a moment of strength for her; Barbara refuses to be cowed by him, or to take his bullshitting, and she does what she does best, managing to hold it together and save some lives, even if this whole vigilante lark is turning out to be less fun than she imagined.

What's that little thing on the inner corner of your eye called? Whatever it is, when I see it in a comic, I always interpret it as a symbol that REALISM IS HAPPENING HERE. (Click to enlarge.)

At 47 pages, it's a slight story, but enjoyable nonetheless. I really liked Matt Haley and Karl Kesel's art. They have a style I think of as very 1990s, but in a good way. Not the EXTREME, scribbly stuff, but realistic without being gritty, detailed while still retaining a certain cartoon-y boldness. Just as the kinetic style of Batgirl: Year One was perfect for it, so too is this perfect for this comic about Barbara Gordon moving through a darker world but refusing to be caught in it.

Next Week: Our third straight week of Batgirl shenanigans with The Cat and the Bat!

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