The cliché warns us not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, a rush to judgment would be spot on. Stanley “Artgerm” Lau has delivered quite a few lively covers for this run of “Batgirl,” but this cover, depicting Batgirl and Supergirl against multiple Draculas under an old-time movie marquee, is splendid.
This incarnation of “Batgirl” has been a favorite in the Zawisza household: a breezy, event-repellant series that borders on all ages and delivers high-quality comic book action each and every month with stunning consistency. My teenage daughter who has been reading this series with me doesn’t know this issue snuck in the house on Thursday, as I thought I should read it and deliver this review prior to sharing this comic.
This series flies in the face of what modern-day comics have become, and this issue is a perfect example of what to expect from this series. Granted, every issue of this series doesn’t have a guest-star, but when the guests to appear, they do so organically and contribute to the story. Supergirl pops by to catch up with her finest gal-pal in the world, and the two of them wind up fighting against some hard-light duplicates of Dracula. It’s an odd plot, to be sure, but it plays with comic book science in a delightfully Silver Age manner. This is a comic that people -- especially those who decry the bitter brutality of current comics -- don’t realize they are asking for.
This series and this issue, in particular, reminds me of Gail Simone’s “All-New Atom” in its spirit and enthusiasm, with an offbeat menace that could only possibly appear in comic books. Miller brings comic book wonder each and every issue, but he also plays up the humanity of his protagonist through the bizarre situations Batgirl (both in costume and as a civilian) finds herself confronting.
Lee Garbett returns for the entirety of this issue, and he delivers a full issue of comic book splendor. Garbett’s Dracula is Bela Lugosi, transcribed to four-color fancy with flair. Garbett’s work is meticulous, but fun. His characters explode with action, burst with emotion, and carry the scenes as effectively as live actors would. Guy Major splashes Garbett’s drawings with vital comic book coloring of the best kind, bright and bold.
This issue, like many issues in this series, is a done-in-one, another rarity in the comic book world nowadays. New readers can (and should, hint, hint) check this book out for a comic of a different kind.