The previous issue of Batgirls was one of the most disappointing comic books I read in a long time. As with any comic book I read Batgirls is a series I want to enjoy. Especially since Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown are some of my favorite characters. But Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad both swung and missed hard with their writing for Batgirls #7. At this point I can just hope they’ll be able to end this story arc with at least Seer being further established as a major villain in Gotham City. Let’s see what happens with Batgirls #8.
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Rico Renzi
While taking in Lulu Laroux sword swallowing performance in Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge, with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown’s help, Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon get the info they need to get to the underground passages.
After changing Nightwing and Oracle head underground where they are confronted by a waiting Valentine of the Saints. Nightwing provides an opening for Oracle to search for the Seer. Nightwing then defeats Valentine in a one-on-one fight.
While Oracle looks for where Seer is being held Assisi tries to run after getting a message to the other Saints about the Batgirls. The Batgirls are able to stop Assisi but accidentally crash through the Iceberg Lounge glass roof.
Peguin has Lulu Laroux take on the Batgirls. The Batgirls are able to get through Lulu and into the elevator to the underground passage. Unfortunately for them Lulu recovers and cuts the line to the elevator with the Batgirls barely able to get out alive, while also knocking out Lulu.
Oracle finds Tarsus holding Seer at gunpoint. Oracle gets Tarsus to talk all about the Saints plan to make everyone in Gotham City to believe Simon Saint is alive. Nightwing use the opportunity to throw a smoke bomb so Oracle can get Seer to safety while Nightwing knocks out Tarsus.
Oracle then erases everything on Seer’s computers so it can’t be used by the Saints. The Batgirls then join Oracle and Nightwing to get out through the sewers. Seer pushes Oracle into the sewer after everyone already went in so she can escape alone.
After Tarsus and Valentine are taken to the GCPD the Batgirls relax back at their loft hideout.
Not being able to sleep Barbara contacts Dick to see what he is up to. Dick shows up at her fire escape with Haley leading to Barbara giving Dick the kiss she promised earlier. End of issue.
Batgirls #8 is more of the same from what we got in the previous issue of this series. The writing is the greatest enemy to this series while the artwork does its best deliver a dynamic looking comic book that is battling the writing.
It is honestly just not fun reading Batgirls #8. Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad constantly get in the way of a story that you see all the potential there. Its just that Cloonan and Conrad interfere with the story they are trying to tell by needlessly inserting themselves as the annoying narrators of the story.
Before Batgirls #8 Cloonan and Conrad at least tried to mask the monologue boxes as inner monologue giving us Stephanie Brown’s perspective. That led to mixed results depending on how much it was being used. But with Batgirls #8 they do away with any cloak of this being Stephanie’s inner monologue and straight up turn out to be the narrator of this entire issue.
It all led to disconnect between what Cloonan and Conrad were saying as the narrators and what the characters dialogue actually was. Because when Cloonan and Conrad were simply writing character dialogue you could see how they can write solid banter between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon and the typical villains you like to see get punched in the face in The Saints. But any good that is found with the dialogue is overshadowed by the overexplaining Cloonan and Conrad do with their narration.
It gets to the point where you wonder if Cloonan and Conrad trust Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi as the art team. Which is disappointing because Rodriguez and Renzi do more than enough to help tell the story without the need of the narration. Rodriguez and Renzi hit on the fun street level look that has been established Jorge Corona and Sarah Stern before them. But all the artwork ends up not looking as great because of how the narration tries to explain things that Rodriguez and Renzi already visually accomplish.
This not only hurts character work attempted for Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Dick Grayson but also Seer as well. This story was supposed to dive deeper into Seer’s character. While Cloonan and Conrad did that all they ended up proving was how one-note of a villain Seer is. The depth that is attempted to be given to Seer comes across as artificially pushed on the character. Being forced to start from zero is not something that makes Seer a more intriguing villain. All it accomplished was have Seer make her exit as a Batman Family villain that fans don’t have any reason to look forward to showing up ever again.
It was also disappointing that Cloonan and Conrad did nothing with using Penguin as part of this story. Penguin’s role was just to give Stephanie and Cassandra someone to fight in Lulu Laroux since they are two-thirds of the titled Batgirls. Especially considering how big of a part Penguin is playing in the new Gotham City status quo Batgirls #8 could’ve worked into that with what was going on in the Iceberg Lounge.
All of that said the characters that get the worst of the characterization were Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain. Everything about their roles in the story to their dialogue showed the reader that they really didn’t need to be a part of what was going on in Batgirls #8. This was a Oracle and Nightwing team-up story. The only reason Stephanie and Cassandra are in this issue is because they are two-thirds of the titled Batgirls. This is not how two of your three lead characters should be seen as in their own title.
Batgirls #8 is a comic book that gets in its own way of finding success. Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad just can’t help themselves with how overly written this comic book. It gets to the point you are left wondering if there is trust in this story that is supposed to wrap up the Seer and The Saints story was worth telling. The only thing that saves Batgirls #8 is the good artwork, when given the chance by the writing, by Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi
Story Rating: 1 Night Girl out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10