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Set relatively soon after Bruce Wayne took up the mantle of the Batman, Batman Confidential tells the stories of Batman’s early outings.  I first jumped on to the book at issue 17, because of the Batgirl/Barbara Gordon story being told. I am so glad that I did, and look forward to getting my hands on a TPB of the earlier issues.

Batman Confidential #17 and #18 tell the story of Batgirl’s first encounter with Catwoman. There isn’t a Batman to be found in these issues, and when we’re dealing with one of my favorite characters, Batgirl, the less Batman the better.

batmancon18cover.jpgBatman Confidential #18
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art and cover by Kevin Maguire

At the end of issue 17, Batgirl was faced with a nasty dilemma: follow Catwoman in to the Gotham Hedonist Society’s meeting, starkas, or high tail it out of there. She knew that Catwoman didn’t think she would follow. She thus knew she had to go in there.

Issue 18 starts just as a million comic geeks were hoping it would – with a very naked Barbara Gordon, holding her cape in front of her to cover her… pretties. She finally surrenders her cape, and with nothing but her mask for an identity, she enters in to a room full of very naked Gothamites.

Fabian Nicieza has a really firm grasp (sorry) on the character of Batgirl, and her internal dialogue is, what I believe to be, spot on. This is exemplified with a few fantastic gems in the opening pages, such as “Is he looking? He better be looking…” referring to her … you get the picture. And on the next page, as she is pushing through a crowd of people she hastily admonishes a passerby with a “That better be your finger…”

And through it all she is expressing her hate, her “pure, unadulterated, livid, vivid, justifiable hatred…” for Catwoman. The inner monologue is why you read this book; everything else is just the icing on top of the cake.

Within moments Batgirl has the object of her attention – her father’s notebook that Catwoman has stolen – and after a very naked and quick dust-up amidst Gotham’s nakedist, Batgirl is out of there. We once again get a good grip (sorry) of why Batgirl was allowed to continue being Batgirl; she is feisty, well trained, and strong.

It’s obviously not long until Catwoman catches up with Batgirl, because as good as Batgirl is, Catwoman is at least her match in this arena. They end up scrapping in a garbage yard (or tip, as we call them down in Australia), with a great scene showing how to get a little puppy to drop a notebook – the answer is not threatening her with its life in front of a bunch of other dogs, as a note.

The twist, that was inevitable in a series of issues that is scheduled to run for 5 months, is that Catwoman needs “the notebook to save someone’s life!” Barbara is unsurprisingly baffled, but doesn’t have a lot of time to deal with the confusion as Catwoman is shot from a distance, by an as yet unknown assailant.

Kevin Maguire’s artwork is really something to behold. However he does have a bit of trouble with faces at times, drawing some very ungainly expressions. That being said, the very first page that I am currently looking at, has a near perfect pose of Barbara – yes, she’s very naked, but the biting of the lip is a small detail that, I think, perfectly sums up what she was thinking.

But apart from the previously mentioned facial expressions which tend to run 50/50 good/bad, I really love Maguire’s work. It is especially fun to watch how he continually manages to cover up everyone’s naughty bits, with a raised hand here, a well positioned turn, and my favorite, a bowl of fruit – in particular, a pear – to cover Barbara’s butt.

All in all, Batman Confidential #18 gets 5 out of 5 for me, something I haven’t done in awhile. I know the artwork doesn’t necessarily score that high, but Nicieza’s story and the 80% good artwork simply cannot be denied a full mark. Make sure you try and get your hands on this storyline as soon as possible; you will not regret it! And try and do it for something other than the rampant nakedness of the first 9 pages.

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The Author

Joshua Hill

Joshua Hill

I'm an aspiring author who just happens to also work on the web, reporting on the environmental research and science at Planetsave.com that makes sense of the climate change hype, reviewing fantasy books at FantasyBookReview, because I love fantasy books and want to tell you all about it. I also blog over at Life As A Human and at Extralife.

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2 Comments

  1. kurokeima
    July 2, 2008 at 10:46 pm — Reply

    You have to be kidding me here…a “firm grasp” on the character? Are we discussing the same Batgirl here but I think we may be confused.

    Linking this trash and sir this is TRASH to Year One Batgirl is an astonishingly bad move. She’s weaker, ditsier, and acts completely out of character just to provide a bit of horribly done fan service for the slobbering mass of man child comic readers out there.

    I’m fine if you’re not willing to link this sort of fan service crap to a real defining series for the character but…to put the two together? It just seems like you’re trying to justify spank material. Seriously haven’t we tried to distance ourselves from women in refrigerators? Or has the comic industry decided to fall back to it’s old tricks?

    Also, I’m dissapointed in Nicieza and Maguire. The art in place is highly questionable even ignoring the cheesecake factor but I’m even more disappointed in Carlin and Levitz for letting this go. I know that the DC offices are in a bit of disarray (when are they not?) but this is ridiculous.

  2. June 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm — Reply

    well Kurokeima may think this is issue was trash but it seems like this story is making a lot of news, right now.

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