ARC Review – Three DC Comic Reviews

25138266Title: Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside

Authors: Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart & Babs Tarr

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Barbara Gordon’s ready for a fresh start. She’s packing her bags, crossing the bridge, and heading to Gotham’s coolest neighborhood: Burnside. And when a freak fire burns up her costume and gear, Babs has the chance to become a whole new Batgirl!

But she barely slips on her new DIY costume before Batgirl starts trending as Gotham’s first viral vigilante — and attracting a new wave of enemies who want her social-media spotlight for themselves. Meanwhile, the girl beneath the gear’s got a whole new crew of friends, college classes that are kicking her Bat-butt and a dating scene that can make anyone want to swipe left on life. This bat’s done living in the shadows. But will the bright lights of Burnside burn her for good?

Huge thank you to DC Comics and Edelweiss for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I have been a Batgirl nut for as long as I can remember, in fact, I love Babs even more than I do Bruce (and that says a lot considering my love of Batman). In this instalment of the New 52, Babs really has a different transformation from the Gail Simone run that came previously. The changes made are interesting, but I’m not sure if I completely love them.

For starters, Babs feels much younger here than she did in previous instalments, but she’s penned at times as being both a genius but also incredibly immature, which threw me for a bit as I was reading. Simone’s Batgirl had a sense of maturity that I loved so much, so to see her behave like a child at times didn’t always feel right in my mind.

The ARC itself is quite good (minus the weird anime, ‘kawaii’ bit which was just dreadful and I wish I had not been included — very out of place), as it’s very fluid for the most part. I also loved the portrayal of Dinah and Babs’ relationship, as you can tell they have this mutual respect, but often want to slap the other for some reason, usually pertaining to the other being selfish. There’s some wonderful comedic moments between the two, and their resolution is a good one.

One thing I will absolutely praise is the artwork. It really has a unique and distinctive style that really separates it from other versions of Batgirl. Her new suit is awesome looking, as it is functional, and there’s less emphasis on driving sex appeal, which I appreciated. There’s also these wonderful extra touches in the artwork that quite excellent, especially the attention to detail in someone’s outfit, or how a certain villain is drawn.

Overall, I liked this quite a bit, though sadly not as much as Simone’s stuff. Still, I feel like I will find my groove with this Babs, as she’s really quite spunky and likeable. There’s definitely fun to be had in this instalment, though if you’re a big Gail Simone fan, it may be hard to detach yourself from what you’re already used to.

23395763Title: Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy

Authors: Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange as the students!

Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman Maps is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!

Review:

Gotham Academy was not what I was expecting from a DC Comics franchise. Quirky, cute and off-the-wall, Becky Cloonan and co. have done an amazing job at creating a school-ish spin-off that really is a joy to read.

Part of what makes Gotham Academy a lot of fun is its overall atmosphere. Those who are fans of many of DC Comics’ capes franchises will be able to point out many of its characters, and even though we have an original cast leading the charge, the balance is done quite well. Olive is darling, Maps is insane, and the antics they get into are funny. I found myself snickering through parts of the comics just because Olive looks like the last kind of person to get into so much trouble.

This comic is so comedic, and it will make you smile. It’s not without its faults — sometimes the characters behave like they know more of what’s going on than the reader, and yes the cliffhanger of this instalment was, well, kind of lame, but I feel like there is a ton of potential with Gotham Academy to go in a fun, or even dark direction. I feel like the hardest part of Gotham Academy was trying to understand the direction it wants to go, and it’s not obvious even towards the end. Still, I want to recommend it, most because I still want to see where it goes next and because at the end of the day, I always love a comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

23505378Title: Grayson, Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral

Authors:  Tim Seeley & Mikel Janin

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Dick Grayson. Former Sidekick. Former Superhero. Former dead man. Agent of Spyral?! A thrilling new chapter of Dick Grayson’s life begins here. A super-spy espionage thriller that will shock you and prove one thing: you might think you know Nightwing–but you don’t know Dick.

 

Review:

I have to admit, the idea of Dick Grayson being a spy didn’t win me over in any way. It should have, but I found this whole first instalment quite bland as I was reading it. It tries to overexert personality, but I honestly just didn’t enjoy Dick’s characterization at all. Perhaps it’s because I always adored him as Robin or loved his take over as Batman, but Spy!Dick just didn’t engage me the way he has in his other personas.

I think the other issue I had with this, and it’s more on my fault than it is the comic’s is that I felt like I was missing something when I was reading this. Even though it provides a detailed backstory to how Dick becomes an agent, I felt like I was missing pieces of the puzzle by having not read something that came before this.

I will admit, I did love the art in this. It’s crisp, clean, colourful. I loved the action sequences, which just oozed in detail. But as I’ve said, there’s a lack of spark in Grayon Volume 1, and I don’t think I’ll be continuing this series any time soon, sadly.

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