It seems ages since DC announced All-Star Batgirl and it’s still not here. But should it turn up one day, I’ll be amazed if it’s more fun than this issue by Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire.
Part one of five, The Cat and the Bat is a straightforward chase scene involving Batgirl, in the early days of her crimefighting career, and the curvaceously cunning Catwoman. Selina steals Commissioner Gordon’s notebook from Gotham Library for reasons unknown and Babs is determined to get it back. Cue a catfight over the rooftops of Gotham, punctuated by the inner thoughts of both parties and some firecracker dialogue. Babs fears she’s out of her league, but shows the pluckiness and ingenuity that saw her so quickly accepted into the Batman Family by Bruce, while Selina takes some convincing that this ‘groupie’ is indeed ones of his ‘pets’. By the end of the issue Babs is on the horns of a dilemma never faced by a Gotham hero – challenged to throw her costume aside to follow Catwoman into a club for naked hedonists. So will Babs get her baps out? You can bet I’ll be here next issue to find out.
And Maguire’s art is as much a part of that decision as Nicieza’s script. It’s a lovely, fresh-looking job – there’s an openness that made every page a delight. Which isn’t to say there weren’t standouts, such as the spread laid out around Babs and Selina climbing a building. And Maguire’s trademark skill with facial expressions is present and correct, meaning you could easily get a lot of this story without the narrative.
But I’m glad the dialogue is there – why the heck hasn’t DC given the ridiculously skilled Nicieza a monthly book? Trinity back-ups aren’t enough!