Batgirl #47 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: The Doll’s House

Written by: Dylan Horrocks
Penciled by: Rick Leonardi
Inked by: Jesse Delperdang
Colored by: Jason Wright
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Editor: Michael Wright
Publisher: DC Comics

You go, girl!

Dylan Horrocks has done some amazing things with Batgirl during his run thus far. Before Horrocks came on, a lot of readers complained the book was nothing but extended fight sequences. This was fairly accurate, even though I feel the book was always quite entertaining. I did once read the first 25 issues in about an hour, so I can understand the idea that some weren’t getting their money’s worth. While it was always enjoyable and had a great deal of action, the necessary dramatic gravity seemed to be missing. This is the main thing that Dylan Horrocks has brought to Batgirl.

Horrocks is one of the rising stars in the comic-writing game. He has turned Cassandra Cain (Batgirl) from a really solid character into a three-dimensional ever-evolving force. In his time, Horrocks has given Cassandra not one, but two brushes with love, and challenged her detective skills as much as her fighting skills. It’s not to say the book was bad before, it’s just a very welcome evolution for a character that would have gotten stale sooner than later, if a new direction wasn’t hatched.

It’s not Barbie’s Dream House

What we get this month is an all-inclusive story, and a very freaky one at that. A string of disappearing super models is mounting, made worse when one is finally found dead. Batman pulls rank on Batgirl telling her to stay off the case. Horrocks weaves in a bit of Cassandra’s past, as an expert taking part in a newscast has clearly had dealings with her in the past. Cass visits the man. We get not only a little more background on Cass, but she also gets a break in her hunt for the villain.

Batgirl must confront the mentally unbalanced Doll Man and rescue the remaining girls before it’s too late. Horrocks throws in a neat little “running of the gauntlet” before we see the lair of the villain. The lair is one freaky place serving as the perfect locale for the final confrontation. The reasoning behind this deranged man’s actions goes in a slightly different direction than I would have expected. In just 22 pages, Horrocks builds up the new villain quite well, advances the character of Cassandra, and builds to a satisfying conclusion.

Rick Leonardi recently arrived on Batgirl. Always a very anime-influenced book with regard to artwork, Leonardi has quickly given the title a hard-edged look that fits the new direction. I always enjoy Mr. Leonardi’s work, but I was a little dissatisfied with his rendition of Batman. The eyes in his cowl never looked the same in any two panels and the shape, it seems, was supposed to show emotion. Something that for some reason doesn’t bother me with Spider-Man, but I don’t like to see with Batman, ever!

A neat, well-packaged story like this one is just the type that comics need more of. Someone that wants to try a new book will often have to lay out twelve or fifteen bucks to get a complete storyline. “The Doll’s House” gives you a clear look at who Cassandra Cain is, what she’s fighting for, and on top of that a story that’s settled in these pages. I understand the trade paperback is a driving force in the industry, but every comic doesn’t get traded, and some stories need to standalone. This story stands on its own merit perfectly!