Saturday, April 11, 2015

Convergence: Batgirl #1 Review

Written by: Alisa Kwitney
Art by: Rick Leonardi, Mark Pennington and Steve Buccellato
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 8, 2015

Character Movements

Convergence has been an odd event to get a handle on. One of the problems is that this isn't just a multiverse, what-if story, but a multi-multiverse, what-ifs story.  I know that is not the proper use of the Queen's English, but I think Convergence readers will know what I mean.  Add to that fact that everyone is not going to be familiar with all of these characters and past stories which leads to some strange inconsistencies and confusion within and across each tie-in.  This issue has both.  A couple of the lead characters may come out of left field for those only familiar with the New 52 which leads to some confusing interactions and dialogue.  That being said, this is one of the strongest character issues in this first wave of Convergence tie-ins.  Is it enough to make this issue worth recommending?  Let's find out...

The issue starts a bit different from the other Convergence tie-ins I've read and reviewed.  Instead of seeing everything pre-dome, we are thrown into the fray right away.  Stephanie Brown, Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain are in the desert figuring out their next step and it's a bit confusing.  I usually don't mind this type of cold opening, but this might be the book that needed a bit more background than most.  Personally, I don't have much of a background with Cassandra, but I got enough here to fill in most of the blanks.  Hopefully, everyone else can as well.

With the Dome down, it's been put to Stephanie Brown to defend Gotham as Batgirl.  The problem is, she hasn't played the role for a year now and doesn't seem inspired to start again.  That's partly the reason Cassandra and Tim are there to help. She'll need it because the characters she has to face are some heavy hitters.

The issue then takes a step back and while the pacing was shot to bits, I enjoyed it.  This issue was one of the best in showing the effects the Dome had on everyday life.  While some struggle, others thrive.  Stephanie seems to fall in the later case.  Without the pressure and responsibilities of being Batgirl, she worked on being a "pretty great Stephanie Brown".  Like the Harley issue, you almost root for the Dome to stay up.  Alas it doesn't and the book kicks into overdrive to get the characters to their desert destinies.  We get a television report about the Dome going down and a strange teleportation of the characters.  We have to take Alisa Kwinty's word that Stephanie was picked to fight and that is a very odd omission.

This issue had pacing issues from the very beginning.  I usually like a bit of the out-of-sequence storytelling, but it kills the momentum of the issue.  There was really no reason for it and just seemed like a bad choice.  I did like Stephanie's character moments, but I fear that most of the Cassandra Cain stuff will go over a bunch of reader's heads.  I know that Kwitney was probably given these characters, but Cassandra was a strange choice.

Then there was the art.  I was not a fan of Rick Leonardi's work.  It was one of those "first look" things and unfortunately, I couldn't get over that initial reaction.  I didn't like it and nothing really stuck out to me as a highlight.

Bits and Pieces:

This is my least favorite Convergence tie-in so far.  The story has a pacing problem and while I liked seeing Stephanie Brown, it just felt off.  The art didn't help me feel any different and I was left with an empty feeling when I was done reading it.  I can't recommend it and can't say I'm looking forward to next month's finale.


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