Friday, February 25, 2005

BATGIRL #61

I'm trying to nail down the precise source of my lack of enthusiasm for this issue. There wasn't anything particularly bad about it -- Andersen Gabrych is still in set-up mode and could have done a better job wrestling with the Exposition Fairy, especially with regard to the Coffee Shop Chick, but really didn't get himself bogged down and generally stuck to what he set up last month. Ale Garza (who did the art, not the Mhan credited on the cover) did his usual fun job even if he doesn't believe that young women ever have shirt bottoms that meet pants tops. So why am I not excited? A perfectly acceptable issue, but I wanted more.

Having established Cass's new world order last issue, we get on to something approaching plot. Cass begins her day in her new digs, again watched by the Mysterious Boy from Across the Street and again interacting with the Coffee Shop Chick (failing to convince CSC that she's not a call girl) and again getting a phone call by the ever-helpful stoolie Marquis about Penguin's shipment. I still think it's all a little too quick and convenient, but there's a time constraint to get the story moving forward again, so there's only so much I can gripe.

Now, on the face of things, there's nothing wrong with a percentage of Gotham's criminal element relocating to Bludhaven -- Black Mask is certainly in charge at home, plus the police sensitivity, plus, well, there are plenty of reasons. Someone like the Penguin is a natural for such a move -- his sort of crime can be carried out in any big port city where he can move goods in and out. But why the Brotherhood of Evil is stopping by.... We'll see, I suppose.

In the resulting throwdown, Gabrych does a pretty good job of establishing Cass's strengths and limits, not to mention his penciler Garza's, whose fluid style is both hampered and aided by his heroine fighting a liquidy shapeshifter. Cass is a seasoned pro when she sets Gemini on fire to see where she's vulnerable, but she's no match for three fifths of the Brotherhood of Evil and quickly gets her clock cleaned. (I'm not sure I buy the idea that Cass can't 'read' Mallah because he's not human -- he's got a human enough brain and gorilla bodies are about as close to ours as the animal kingdom is going to get -- but that's beside the point.)

As for what happens next... I understand that Cass has a certain reaction to Stephanie Brown because Steph was the one person she interacted with voluntarily and not as part of her Bat-duties. But Gabrych really has to be careful about not retconning that relationship into an actual friendship -- because it wasn't. Steph as representation of other ideals, sure. And in the context of the issue, it's probably better than having an imaginary Batman yelling at her to wake up and swim.

But tell me I wasn't the only one who had a quick panicked moment where I muttered "please, no. Stephanie Brown is not the next Spectre".

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm almost one hundred percent sure that it was Pop Mhan doing the art in 61, not Garza.

For starters, he drew the mask in the oldschool way (unlike Garza), and he's published a preliminary sketch of one of the pages on his forum months ago.

Sun Feb 27, 12:57:00 PM EST  
Anonymous JRWells from LJ said...

Whoa. I thought maybe I was the only one who thought that the new Spectre was Stephanie. I kept it out of my review just so not to spread that thought.

I don't think DC will go that route though. My guess is the death in March's DC Countdown is going to be the one that leads to the new Spectre.

Sun Feb 27, 06:02:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh holy crap, now I'M thinking they might make her the next Spectre. OOOH, I didn't need that thought lurking in my mind when I go to sleep tonight. Ugh.

I liked Steph, hated her as Robin, but I liked her, she was as close to normal as anyone in the realm of Bats gets to be. But, no, not the Spectre. Ugh.

Tue Mar 22, 12:46:00 PM EST  

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