Batgirl #8 written by Bryan Q. Miller with art by Talent Caldwell, Lee Garbett, and Trevor Scott
Red Robin #10 written by Christopher Yost with art by Marcus To and Ray McCarthy
I was never a fan of the concept of Batgirl, Supergirl, or nearly every other female superhero offshoot. There are so many great female characters in comics that the idea of a female version of an already established male superhero always seemed silly to me. Spider-Woman and She-Hulk are rare exceptions, since their powers and/or personalities are distinct enough to be interesting on their own. This preference made me skip the first few issues of the new Batgirl title, despite the rave reviews it has been getting. It has taken a crossover with Red Robin, a title that I am following, for me to pick up an issue of Batgirl, and while the storyline is really nothing special, I was charmed by the character of Batgirl. Stephanie Brown is a character I have the vaguest familiarity with, but it only took one issue of her own title and one crossover with Red Robin for me to want to read more about her.
The basic storyline carries over from the current Red Robin storyline, in which Tim Drake/Wayne returns to Gotham searching for Ra’s Al Ghul’s League of Assassins. He runs into his ex-girlfriend Stephanie, who he has not seen in the Batgirl outfit until now. After the inevitable bickering, Tim and Stephanie get an alert and head out to prevent the League’s assassination of Dr. Leslie Tompkins, a mission that involves going undercover at a gala for Gotham’s best and brightest. The Batgirl issue ends with Tim and Steph ambushed by League member Pru, who was Tim’s reluctant ally in the previous Red Robin arc.
Red Robin #10 opens with Tim’s inner monologue stating that he has killed Stephanie by letting her get involved in his mission. He quickly changes his tune after Steph disarms and immobilizes Pru, however. Pru then tells them that she is there to warn Tim that Ra’s is gunning for him and that he needs to watch his back. They soon realize that the League is targeting more members of Gotham’s elite and scramble to try to find out who they are and how they can prevent their deaths. Meanwhile, Vicki Vale catches word of Tim’s return and goes snooping around to try to get an interview with him, and Ra’s schemes behind the scenes like he always does.
The storyline in these two issues really isn’t too exciting, but what really grabbed me about this crossover was the interaction between Batgirl and Red Robin and their respective inner monologues regarding how weird it is to be fighting alongside one another again. I do like that Tim is back in Gotham, as his previous adventures overseas were getting a bit tiresome, and being alongside Stephanie seems to lighten him up as well. I’m not on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment of this storyline, but I am impressed with the dynamic of this team up and am seriously thinking about following Steph’s exploits after this crossover is done. Both issues get 4 out of 5 Uncomfortable Silences.