Wednesday, June 01, 2005

BATGIRL #64

On the face of it, a throwdown between Cass Cain and Rose Wilson should not take twenty-two pages. Cass has been training her entire life, but Rose has only been at it (seriously, at least) for a comparatively very short amount of time. Ravager being Deathstroke's daughter or not, this shouldn't have been anything close to a fair fight.

It wasn't a fair fight and, to Andersen Gabrych's credit, it wasn't dragged out too long in order to prove that point. Cass cleaned Rose's clock in between the inevitable flashback comparisons between Rose and Slade Wilson and Cass and David Cain. Where Gabrych makes this work is by having Cass assume that there is a resonance between her and Ravager and then be correct in that assumption, but for the wrong reasons. Rose and Slade have the same relationship Cass had with her father, but that's pretty much all Rose shares with Cass. The fundamental difference between the two is beyond the merely physical: Rose is falling into her father's world and Cass is scrabbling to climb out. And Cass realizes this and makes use of that realization to not only defeat Rose, but Slade as well.

I still haven't decided whether Deathstroke setting up Ravager to take on Batgirl is really clever or completely screwy. Rose will finish the job because that's what you're supposed to do, but Slade has to know that Cass is out of Rose's league and he has already lost a son to similar ambitions. On the other hand, he knows Cass won't kill Rose, so it's good practice.

As direct the comparison between Cain and Deathstroke is made out to be -- and it's pretty direct, down to the way both men stole their daughters -- I'm curious to see where Gabrych goes. Because Cain and Slade aren't the same; there's an edge of madness to Slade for what he did to Rose and the past history of Adeline, Joseph, and Grant Wilson. There's plenty of resonance between Rose's subcontract with the Penguin and Grant Wilson's contract with HIVE and Slade's reaction to both. David Cain is the star of the next story, so we'll see.

The monthly DC direct sales numbers are out and analyzed and Batgirl is still on the way down. The last big spotlight on this title came from the execrable War Games crossover and that was the end of the unlamented Dylan Horrocks run, hardly the sort of stuff that would entice readers of the other Bat titles to pick up the book. I've mentioned before that Batgirl doesn't get any real non-Bat exposure because Cass is neither Teen Titan nor Outsider. While there are very good reasons why she isn't, both textual and metatextual, it's hard to get the word out about the improvement during the Gabrych run when this has been one of the few books untouched by the Infinite Crisis build-up. Heck, even Manhunter managed to cash in on Identity Crisis. And, yes, I do realize the irony of that plaint considering my general griping about how every book in the DCU is dancing around the Infinite Crisis maypole.

3 Comments:

Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

I really like what Gabrych is doing on Batgirl. Can't say I'm going to miss Garza when he goes, though. While he's improved with each issue, something about this one felt rushed. Almost like Gabrych gave him a little too much room to play with in the fight scene and he got artist's block or something.

Good point about the sales, too. Seeing some of the stuff that routinely ranks above it each month makes me hate most comic book fans some days.

Wed Jun 01, 11:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Andrew Burton said...

Cassandra was a member of Justice League: Elite, under the name Kasumi. It really wasn't much of a "Batgirl spotlight", but she was there and it did show her operating for what "the Bat" stands for and not just as an extension of Batman... #11 did anyway.

Hopefully if there's another JL:E book -- and we're hoping like crazy -- she'll be in it as Batgirl.

Wed Jun 01, 11:45:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

This was a really swell issue. I hadn't looked at Gabrych's Batgirl before, but he seems to have a handle on the character, and makes her more three dimensional than I've seen previously.

Thu Jun 02, 02:55:00 PM EDT  

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