Is this where the new Birds of Prey begins?
Love it or lump it, Stephanie Brown is the new Batgirl, but sheâ€™s still got one more person to convince before the job is officially hers.
Barbara Gordon is less than thrilled that the once thought dead Stephanie Brown has taken up the name and the mask of Batgirl.Â With Cassandra Cain out of the picture, thereâ€™s got to be a female element in the Batverse to keep the testosterone in check, providing Stephanie can survive the night.Â Last issue a new rage/fear inducing drug hit the Gotham University campus, and Batgirl is hot on the trail to the villains hide-out. With Oracle as a guide, the duo quickly deduce that is Scarecrow behind the madness.
The interesting thing about Scarecrow (and his fear potion) is he serves as a great plot point for the central character to face and overcome their fears.Â It wouldnâ€™t be very interesting to read a three issue arc featuring Bruce Wayne sitting on a couch, chatting it up with a psychiatrist as he tries to cope with the loss of his a) parents, b) Jason Todd, c) Silver St. Cloud, or d) Clark Kent.Â On the other hand, a three issue arc featuring Bruce Wayne coming face to face with the disappointing stares and accusatory comments of a) his parents, b) Jason Todd, c) Silver St. Cloud, or d) Clark Kent makes for great reading, especially when there are all sorts of trippy hallucinogenic pink floppy flowers popping up around his face, as he fights those inner demons and saves himself $200 per hour in counseling fees.
And this is exactly what happens to Stephanie in this issue, as the drug tries to do its thing as she confronts the visage of her former boyfriend and her own self as the Scarecrow tries to break her head in half.Â And he almost succeeds, but only manages to rip off half her old mask before Stephanie comes to her senses and kicks the crap out of Jonathan Crane with a kick to the face that includes the utterance of â€œIâ€™m Batgirl!â€, which really would have read better if she would have said â€œIâ€™m the goddamn Batgirl!â€ complete with half-assed attempt to block out the offending word.
The story by Bryan Q. Miller isnâ€™t super original, but having Stephanie come into her own, having Barbara witness the transformation is nice – especially at the end of the issue when Barbara and Stephanie re-enact the Bruce/Dick/Tim candle ceremony with Barbara promising to be there and support the new Batgirl in every way possible.Â The fight scene works, and Barbara joining the staff at Gotham U is a nice change for the characters.
I liked the art a lot.Â Garbett seems to understand that not everyone in the DC Universe is built alike and that is summed up in the profile shot of a spooky Jonathan Crane towering over a very short Batgirl.Â He keeps the characters in proportion throughout the issue, and even the debut of the new Batgirl suit looks good.
Iâ€™m most concerned that Miller is trying to recreate the Birds of Prey experience between Barbara and Batgirl – not that that would be a bad thing – but the Huntress-esque Batgirl uniform, and Barbara breaking into the batcave to use the computer systems did cause this reviewer to pause.
Overall, the series is continuing at a normal pace, and it is good to see another all girl team comic on the stands.Â I want the series to succeed, but right now there are a lot of adjustments that are going on between the characters and the readers that make the road to success a rocky one, earning Batgirl #3 3.5 out of 5 Stars.