For the past 6 months Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown have had their first ongoing run in forever. The other day it finally wrapped up its first storyline and I can’t think of a better time to put out an article trying to convince all of you to read it. I’m not going to bury the lede, Batgirls is the best currently running thing at DC Comics. Am I currently reading everything? No, but I really love this book and you can deal with me using some hyperbole. This is less of a traditional analysis or review like I usually do and more of a set of scattered thoughts as I try to sell you on reading this.
The premise of the book is simple. Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Barbara Gordon move together to a new part of Gotham after something happened in Detective Comics (I don’t know what, I didn’t read it). Each night Cassandra and Stephanie patrol the streets as the Batgirls while Barbara plays a support role from their apartment. Shenanigans ensue.
Batgirls is written by Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad with art by Jorge Corona. The writing of the book has a very light hearted tone with constant jokes from Stephanie or the narration boxes with Cassandra either playing the straight man to a lot of jokes or her serious attitude being part of the punchline.
I love the tone of this book. Maybe it’s because so many of the comics I read are super serious, but seeing my two favorite members of the Batman supporting cast having fun and loving each other is just satisfying.
Of course this tone would be nothing if the art didn’t match it up. Corona’s art is super stylized and not for everyone but if it’s up your alley (and it’s very up mine) it’s glorious. Every character is super expressive and nearly every scene uses bright colors to make the action pop. Describing art isn’t my strong suit so hopefully the images sprinkled in this article sell it better than me.
For me the highlight of this book has to be any time Cass, Barb, and Steph are hanging around their apartment discussing what to do next or when the two Batgirls are walking around town in their civilian identities. Seeing Cass with consistent likes and interests for the first time in forever is a treat for me as a big fan of hers, and that robe she wears around the house is just fantastic.
There’s plenty of fun moments about their day to day lives in these first 6 issues. From their grumpy neighbor who is most definitely not a serial killer to how Cass and Steph listen to All Star by Smash Mouth six times a night while patrolling the city, the Batgirls’ current status quo is really enjoyable.
The villain of the book’s first storyline is Spellbinder who most readers will recognize from Batman Beyond. While this Spellbinder is different from the Beyond incarnation he clearly takes influence from that Spellbinder as there are references to him being a therapist. Spellbinder works really well as the first villain for a book with this tone. He has always been a relatively low stake villain whose main crime was robbery, that isn’t to say the book doesn’t treat him like a threat but the stakes are low.
Or rather, it treats his minion like a threat, Spellbinder himself takes a more man behind the curtain role while his partner Tutor is the actual villain Cassandra and Stephanie fight. Tutor comes across as a real threat and his command of other people leads to some of the best moments in the book so far.
Now I would like to speak a little bit about a certain subject: a ship. Now that half of you have closed the tab let me explain further. There has always been romantic tension between Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, ever since Cass’ very first Batgirl book in fact. Over the years DC has always portrayed the two as being super close without actually having them in a relationship. This has gone into overdrive the past year and a half. From brief appearances in Detective Comics to Wayne Family Adventures whenever they’re on screen together they feel like a couple.
Batgirls is a culmination of this. Although they say multiple times that the two are best friends the book far more often throws around the word love. Not to say love between friends doesn’t exist but it feels more like romantic love to me, with how much this almost-ship has been pushed recently I’m getting to the point where I think DC just needs to tie their knot already. I would be absolutely ecstatic if they did.
Please read Batgirls! This comic is so good! I have absolutely no complaints with it, just pick up the first issue and begin reading it!