Review: Batgirl #16 By Bryan Q. Miller And Dustin Nguyen

Batgirl #16

Written by Bryan Q, Miller

Art by Dustin Nguyen

Stephanie finds herself in a much different place than she may have expected at the end of the last issue; wanted for murder. This issue obviously picks up on that plot, and BQM drops us right into Steph trying to get the heck out of dodge and avoid capture. Man, just how much everything has changed, a few years ago she would have been worried about Batman knowing she’s wearing her Spoiler outfit, and now she’s being set up by cops using the Bat signal. We see some of Steph’s resourcefulness, not to mention a well timed bit of assistance from Oracle, and Steph should have been home free. Well, should have, she takes a tumble and makes a rookie mistake, and it works. As much I want to see Steph get out unscathed, it makes sense that she would mess up and get hurt a bit. It’s nice and subtle, even if the incident itself isn’t. And that’s just the start of a bad situation.

With Batgirl blamed for the murder of the college student last issue, the one killed by the Order of the Scythe, or ‘Reapers’ as Steph likes to call them, there are dominos toppling all over. From the cops coming after her, to a rally of students protesting her as a murderer because one girl realized she could get out of taking a test by doing it. I was tempted for a minute to attack that as unrealistic until….I remembered some of the people that I met in college, and realized that this sort of situation is….quite possible. The college setting works wonders here, and it’s well handled. Steph feels like a college freshman trying to find her place, and the only way that they could top it would be to put her in a dorm. Then again, I remember Tim Drake living in the dorms of an all boys boarding school and….you know, Steph does well living at home. It keeps her mom in the picture as a supporting cast character, which is something no other Bat characters, save for Oracle and Damian, can say (that they have the regular supporting parental presence). Also, approval becomes a factor for Stephanie, as while she’s familiar with seeking the approval of Bruce or Tim, she’s not used to the public at large caring one way or another about her.

Proxy, much like Mr. Miller said when I spoke to him, is definitely not Oracle Jr. Sure, there are similarities, but a few panels in this issue go a long way towards showing the difference in approach between the two. Like how Babs wouldn’t play the ‘girl in a wheelchair’ card, or talk shit about a cop into a headset while five feet away. The girl has an attitude, and obvious issues with her late twin brother Marvin. Wendy has been one of my favorite editions to this book, after being a ridiculously nondescript character in Teen Titans. She’s smart, really smart, but she lacks that softened edge that you tend to find on heroes. She doesn’t care so much about the rules, or getting things done in a nice and orderly fashion, and comes across more in favor of doing what it takes to achieve her goals. In that regard she definitely has her father in her, and yet, she also lacks the evil killer instinct. Her version of rule breaking is breaking into computer labs to use, not trying to take over the world with the anti-life equation.

Miller also does a nice job of resolving a lot of the conflicts by issues end, but without closing the door on the villains. Personally, I love it when writers do that. So many villains make awesome debuts, have an issue or two of greatness, then get beat up and fade to obscurity. It’s always nice to know that the rogues are going to come back for more at some point, heck, it’s always nice to have rogues!

Still loving Dustin Nguyen on this book, and can’t say enough good about him and his style. He’s a remarkable artist who, in just two issues, has already left a nice little imprint on the book. Man, this book just has so much good about it in the art department, between Lee Garbett, Pere Perez, and now Dustin Nguyen, DC is serious about making sure this book does well, and knows that the art has to be as good at the writing. Thankfully, it really is.

Batgirl is, month in and month out, one of the best books you’ll find with a Bat on the cover, and in my honest opinion, the best book out of the big two with a female lead. There’s so much to like about this book and the characters making it up that it’s really hard to pinpoint just one for a final thought. I guess I should just say that if you haven’t given this book a chance, and you’re a fan of the Bat family, you owe it to yourself to scope out this little piece of awesome. Bryan Q. Miller is doing a great job, and he’s really making this book must read. It’s almost enough to make me want to ask “Cassandra Who?”



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