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For four issues, Stephanie Brown and Barbara Gordon have been working out their working relationship as Batgirl returns to crime fighting. With the release of the new issue, it’s time for Stephanie and Barbara to start working on their personal relationships.  A little romance, a little fighty-fighty, and a ten year old who is about to hit puberty – what more could you ask for?

batgirl5COVER.jpgBatgirl #5
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett
Cover by Phil Noto

I’ve mentioned before how much I hate Damien, however in the hands of Bryan Q. Miller, Damien becomes a character that is annoying, but ends up being the butt of most of the humorous moments in the book.  When Stephanie accidentally freezes Robin when the trio are trying to take down a fire-base villain, hilarity ensues as Damien swears he REALLY wants to stab her.  Alfred assures Stephanie that he’s taken all of Damien’s knives, prompting Damien to reply with, “All the ones you know about, Pennyworth.”   Later, Stephanie finds Damien stalking her, and he explains he’s trying to see what makes her tick.  Stephanie explains that she is trying to inspire hope, which is a concept the young Robin doesn’t understand.   “Of course, you don’t you’re TEN.  Now stop looking at my chest,” exclaims Stephanie, to which Damien responds “What “chest”?”  If there was a category for best dialogue exchange, this issue would certainly qualify, as the two verbally attack each other each time they meet.  I hate to say it, but I really want to see more Stephanie and Damien in this series.

Barbara is not immune to the relationship jabs in this issue, either.  While Damien is mad he got the cold shoulder from a miss-thrown batarang, Dick is furious Babs would even consider allowing Stephanie to play the hero again.  This exchange does have a bit of humor, but it takes on a more serious tone when Dick demands Barbara remove her crap from the batcave and stop encouraging Stephanie.  This doesn’t sit well with the sidelined hero, as she later unleashes her fury on a police detective who’s been set up on a blind date by Jim Gordon.

There are certainly some things Barbara will have to work out between her father and Dick, but there are some impressive moments between Barbara and Stephanie, as the two are finally starting to click in their working relationship.  After five issues, I’m beginning to see a bit of Batman Beyond in the relationship in this series as the elder, injured hero, mentors the replacement from afar.

The big case Stephanie is working on this issue, has to do with a fire at an apartment building for the needy.  The developer’s son (Francisco) attends Gotham U, where Stephanie is a librarian.  Yes, the job is not lost on those that are long time Batgirl fans.  The two strike up a conversation, and it looks like there might be some love and romance in Stephanie’s life.  If she lives to see morning.

When Stephanie shows up at a restaurant in hopes of getting more clues for the case (and possibly a date), a gang of thugs show up in what appears to be a hit on Francisco.  Stephanie puts up a good fight, but then there’s the moment where she gets shot in the head.

And that moment may be the one drawback to the entire issue.  Yes, as a superhero – even one in civilian garb – Stephanie is going to be put in danger on a regular basis.  And yes, the writers will have to come up with cliffhanger moments at the end of each issue in order to bring us back the following month, but the use of the bleeding girl on the sidewalk seems somewhat cliche in an issue that moves wonderfully to that point.

I really admire the art by Lee Garbett.  He doesn’t use a lot of lines to detail the characters, and those that he does use really show what the character is feeling at the moment. The layouts are really good, and Garbett looks like he really understands cinematography, as each shot plays off brilliantly in a super widescreen panel.  The guest inkers and colorist only enhance what is already on the page.

With all the laughter, mayhem, and kicks to the face going on in this issue, a reader might think they’re reading Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  The blonde vampire slayer and the blonde crime fighter probably have a lot in common, which is why I found this issue so charming.  Stephanie may not be everyone’s first choice to be the Batgirl, but in the hands of the Miller and Garbett, she’s the best Batgirl we’ve got at the moment, and the issue shines.  Batgirl #5 is certainly deserving of 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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5 Comments

  1. Jacin B
    December 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm — Reply

    I’m really liking this series but, then again, I have always been a Stephanie fan.

  2. websnap
    December 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm — Reply

    I’m not a stephanie fan, and I liked this issue… it picked up at the right time, as I was going to drop it after this issue.

  3. BiffordMichael
    December 12, 2009 at 6:32 pm — Reply

    I planned on dropping this fast after learning it was Stephanie but to be honest it reads really fresh and (dare I say it) fun and it’s a great book. I’m shocked…now my Bat-cut list is aiming at GCSirens and Red Robin! :(

    Biff

  4. December 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm — Reply

    Wyntermute:

    In an attempt to reply to your post, I have idiotically deleted it.

    I apologize, and remind everyone not to post when you’re exhausted.

    • ~wyntermute~
      December 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm — Reply

      Matthew, you crazy foo’! Whachoo doin’ Posting While Exhausticated??? That kinda stuff gets you arrested by the Internet Police, y’know! I forget what I wrote, mostly, or I’d rewrite.. Something along the lines of Batblonde being “Perfectly Acceptable Comics”, and a bit about the neatly dysfunctional Batgirls & Robins. :)

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