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Comic Review: The New 52's 'Batgirl' Issue #0

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment

Since I finished up reading that first arc in the new Batgirl, I decided it was time for Issue #0. I wasn't too sure what we were going to see here since I'd only read the #0 for Dial H previously.

In this case, it shows us how Barbara discovers Batman, giving us a glimpse of her life before she got into crime-fighting and her first scuffle with a scumbag that was trying to abduct her. She meets Batman in the flesh as a bonus, and eventually goes on to enjoy a full year career as the Batgirl. Until, well... you know.

The first immediate difference between Batgirl #0 and the first four issues in the series is the artwork. The cover is done by Ed Benes and Ulises Arreola instead of Adam Hughes. Besides that, the interior artwork is penciled and inked by Ed Benes rather than Ardian Syaf, so there's a totally different style and feel to the whole thing. It's more light, more colorful, and more innocent-looking. I get the feeling that they were going for that since we're looking at pre-vigilante Barbra. Pre-accident Barbara.

Having Benes do his own thing (besides colors) in this issue made a big difference in the overall grittiness - or rather, the lack of. The whole issue feels like we're looking at a distant memory, something with plenty of that golden afternoon sunlight, and there aren't too, too many details in the lines. It's all very simple and it looks almost like color pencil drawings are splashed on the page. I keep emphasizing the whole lightness and colorfulness thing, but it just really surprised me. I like style changes like this -- it keeps me on my toes, and it shows me the versatility of the artists/team.

The story itself was told well enough that I didn't feel like Gail Simone had to wrap up too many details too quickly in the span of just one issue. She had Barbara narrate her story rather nicely -- it flowed well. It didn't feel rushed even though so many things happened and a huge span of Barbara's history was told in just one book. In other words, Issue #0 is just right.

I waited until after the first arc to read it, but technically this one could be read at any point you're at, since it doesn't rely on any plot points besides what we already knew about Babs coming in. It's a little bit of an "origin story" if you will, except not, since she gets off the wheelchair later in her timeline.