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Batgirl Annual #1 - The Blood That Moves Us Review

3

Batgirl's unlikely team-up plays out in her super-sized annual.

The Good

Gail writes a very organized Annual that is easy to follow and understand if you are new to BATGIRL. For those of you who have been reading BATGIRL all along, you will find that this issue calls back to previous issues quite frequently. For example, one of the main focuses of this comic is a character that previously appeared in Simone's BATGIRL (issue #9), and she resurfaces here. The character also undergoes a bit of change; so it's safe to say this issue is more about that character than it is about Batgirl, herself.

When you open up the issue you'll turn to an incredibly stunning two-page spread of Barbara in action on pages 2 and 3. I love the expression on her face and her stance; I think she looks amazing. The art in this issue really stood out, in my opinion. It was really well illustrated and there were scenes that looked almost as if they had been painted.

The Bad

Reading this issue there were some moments where I just shook my head. I don't know what it is about the dialogue, but this, to me, just doesn't sound like Batgirl. Considering Gail Simone has written Oracle in the past (she was the writer for Birds of Prey), that Barbara and this one sound really different. I understand that this Babs hasn't had the life experience and maturity that the previous version of her character had under her belt; but I still think they should have a more similar narrative. A lot of this feels forced.

The story, although it's organized and easy to understand, isn't really that interesting or original, either. I didn't feel it was necessary (especially for the price) or crucial for reading the rest of this series.

The Verdict

Annual issues tend to be a lot bigger than most. You get more comic, but you also pay more for it. So the question is, is the BATGIRL ANNUAL worth the $4.99 price tag? Like I mentioned above, this issue is really well organized. If you have been following the series then you will definitely enjoy seeing elements we saw in previous issue appear here. You might even enjoy the team-up featuring Batgirl and Catwoman. As for whether or not it's worth the +$5.00 it will cost you after taxes, I have to go with not so much. If you haven't read the series yet, this is a perfect place to start. You get some background on Barbara as Batgirl as well as an idea of Catwoman's character in the 'New 52.' You also get a glimpse at a new character we will likely be seeing a lot more of in this universe. Having said that, this doesn't feel like an essential story -- I doubt you will need to have read the Annual if you want to keep reading BATGIRL. Additionally, the story isn't that interesting. It's structured well, the interactions between characters is good, but overall I wasn't very impressed.

23 Comments
Posted by BatWatch

I am with you on Barbara's dialogue seeming a bit off, but I kind of discounted my own opinion because I know Simone has been one of Barbara's best writers in the past. It's interesting to see someone else confirm my own instincts.

That being said, I enjoyed this issue more than you. Was it essential or inventive? No, but it was fun, and the art was quite nice. I liken this issue to a good popcorn flick which is shallow but fun.

My review:

http://www.comicvine.com/batgirl-annual-the-blood-that-moves-us/37-364092/user-reviews/?review_id=32686

Posted by arnoldoaad

I really Really hated that Mary was turn basically into a bastard owl version of Cass Cain

this is an insult to the fans

Posted by sethysquare

completely disagree. Babs is interesting, fun and full of life. This current batgirl run is much better than the horrible stephanie brown fiasco. I'll take this over stephanie brown any time.

Posted by Braydenrules

Yeah, Stepani, or whaterver sucked under any circumstances, especially as Batgirl. I love how Babs is back to being herself, Batgirl, who she was meant to be: Strong, smart, and sexy as opposed to being stuck in a bad baggy sweater, grandma glasses, ugly jeans, and sneakers as "Oracle". This issue was outstanding in every way: the art was flawless, and you know Gail's a great writer, so enough with the 3 star crap already! 5 stars all the way!

Posted by Ironhawk22

If Babs doesn't think it deserves a 5 star rating, it's her opinion and you can't change that. Just because you thought that the issue deserved 5 stars doesn't mean everyone else will. I've been noticing alot of people commenting on reviews saying things like "Nope, this was a five star issue!" but the thing is it's the reviewers opinion, they're reviewing the comic. Not you. It sounds as if Babs has some valid points here and instead of just seeing 3 stars you should all read the review and listen to why she thinks it deserves 3 stars. Great review. It honestly doesn't sound worth $5.00(Also like to add I loved Gail Simone's writing on Secret Six, but Batgirl just wasn't doing it for me).

Posted by Zoch81

I enjoyed this I thought it was really good, and the art was great I thought that female talon was interesting characater looking forward to seeing her in the birds of prey also thought batgirl and catwoman both written well overall thought this was really good.

Posted by SlickyMike88

I do like Benes art , however i'm not a fan of Barbara Gordon as batgirl:P I just prefere her on the wheel chair ,and use her brains to help out the Bat family.

Posted by tahmidk

i havent liked a single issue of this new run, steph was a bazillion times more interesting and fun. James jr seems so kame in this and nowhere near as creepy and alk the othrr villains suck. WE NEED YOU STEPH

Posted by danhimself

am I the only one who wants more of the Talon Mary? Maybe it's because she reminds me of Cass

Posted by entropy_aegis

@danhimself said:

am I the only one who wants more of the Talon Mary? Maybe it's because she reminds me of Cass

That's exactly why I dont wanna see her,as someone pointed out just another bastardized owl version of Cass,been there done that.@sethysquare said:

completely disagree. Babs is interesting, fun and full of life. This current batgirl run is much better than the horrible stephanie brown fiasco. I'll take this over stephanie brown any time.

If Steph was new-52 you'd be calling it a masterpiece,I've seen you both here and on CBR.In your opinion anything that is new-52=Gold.

Posted by InnerVenom123

I never read Cass stories.

So Mary is interesting to me.

Because apparently she's the same thing.

Posted by chalkshark

I thought the art in this annual was amazing... until it wasn't. Seriously, the last 12 pages... the freaking climax of the narrative.... featured such a severe drop in the quality of the art, that it took me right out of story. I see this all the time, and it's just unacceptable. If you have an artist who cannot do their job in the time alloted, then you have two options. Either hire the artist who can complete the workload on time, without the work looking rushed or in any way subpar, or if you absolutely have to have the slow artist, give them enough lead time to finish the job. If that means delaying publication for a month.. or more... so be it. It's an annual. It's not like it needed to come out in October. December would have been fine.

Posted by OracleX

The title reminds me of an old mini-series that ran during the 90's outside continuity that I think was called "The Cat and The Bat." It sounded like a crazy story about Catwoman stealing Gordon's case notebook and Barbara going through some shenanigans to get it back. I keep meaning to hunt it down on Amazon.

If I'm in comic shop a month from now and I see it on a shelf I may buy it fully-aware of the fact that I will hate myself after reading it and try to figure out a corner to stash it. I What can I say? Batgirl it still the patron super-heroine of my profession as a future librarian.

I am one of those people who is living denial over the whole New 52 Reboot hope it will go away eventually. I love Gail Simone for being one of the most recognizable female comic writers. But I really just plain can't stand the way she is writing Babs.

Posted by sethysquare

@entropy_aegis said:

@danhimself said:

am I the only one who wants more of the Talon Mary? Maybe it's because she reminds me of Cass

That's exactly why I dont wanna see her,as someone pointed out just another bastardized owl version of Cass,been there done that.@sethysquare said:

completely disagree. Babs is interesting, fun and full of life. This current batgirl run is much better than the horrible stephanie brown fiasco. I'll take this over stephanie brown any time.

If Steph was new-52 you'd be calling it a masterpiece,I've seen you both here and on CBR.In your opinion anything that is new-52=Gold.

I'm sorry I don't go to CBR anymore. And your opinions of me are none of my concerns.

Even if Steph were to appear, I'll NEVER buy any single books of hers. In case you didn't notice, I'm buy most of the digital first and I'll avoid anything with Stephanie inside. So definitely not getting the first arc. Once Dustin Nyugen starts writing Babs as Batgirl, I'll buy the digital first.

Just FYI, here are some books that are horrible.

most of those that were cancelled, nightwing, hawkman, batwing, GLC, most of BTDK, most of 'tec, Losh.

so, no, I don;t think ALL new 52 is gold. and you should keep your opinions about me to yourself and mind your own freaking business.

Posted by sethysquare

@arnoldoaad said:

I really Really hated that Mary was turn basically into a bastard owl version of Cass Cain

this is an insult to the fans

Just because they're both asian, doesn't make them the same. This is an insult to us asians and you're being racist.

Posted by The Stegman
I actually liked it, is it essential? No,but It's fun, and worth the price imo.
Online
Edited by arnoldoaad

@sethysquare said:

@arnoldoaad said:

I really Really hated that Mary was turn basically into a bastard owl version of Cass Cain

this is an insult to the fans

Just because they're both asian, doesn't make them the same. This is an insult to us asians and you're being racist.

...ehh what?

Mary is not Asian, she is Black and American

the comparison is that they are both Mute, train to be assassins since childhood and decide to go against their masters for whatever reason

is basically Cass but without any logic to her personality and as a zombie

Posted by sethysquare

@arnoldoaad said:

@sethysquare said:

@arnoldoaad said:

I really Really hated that Mary was turn basically into a bastard owl version of Cass Cain

this is an insult to the fans

Just because they're both asian, doesn't make them the same. This is an insult to us asians and you're being racist.

...ehh what?

Mary is not Asian, she is Black and American

the comparison is that they are both Mute, train to be assassins since childhood and decide to go against their masters for whatever reason

is basically Cass but without any logic to her personality and as a zombie

quote from somewhere

I should be more patient…but I’ve always kind of loathed that thing that two dissimilar female characters are the same because they have red hair or they’re both black or bat-themed or whatever superficial similarity they share. You can have twelve million Green Lanterns and people don’t say that. But with female characters, it happens ALL THE TIME, and it’s frustrating to here, particularly when to any passing examination, the characters aren’t even remotely similar.
I agree about Cass. I love Mary, but she could never replace Cass in the DCU or in my heart or in the hearts of readers. She’s a different character. However, in this one case, if she reminds people a little bit of a character who is benched and if that makes some people happy, then I am all for that.

just because they have superficial similarity does not make Mary the bastardised version of Cass.

Cass is so much more defined than just being "mute" and "trained to be assasin".

I a huge fan of Cass and I'm eagerly waiting her return, but Mary isn't some bastardised version of Cass. They're both different characters.

I don't see mary as an insult to me.

Posted by Ravager4

Gail Simone said:

I've never read anything featuring Cassandra Cain, but after the annual came out I've seen a lot of comic readers online calling Talon Mary an expy of her. Do you think they're especially similar, or is this like when people said New 52 Barbara was just like Stephanie in terms of personality?

People saying Barbara is just like Steph don’t know their history at all, wow. The voices are not similar. If we have a model, it’s Batgirl: Year One and I think that’s pretty clear to anyone who has read that book. Believe me, I love Steph, I love Barbara, comparing them is a dead end every time. They’re different characters entirely. I am amazed anyone thinks their voices or MO’s are the same. The tone is different, it’s a different book. But, being two of the only young women with optimistic viewpoints in Gotham, I can see how people would latch on to that, but it’s pretty superficial. I can’t see Barbara having Steph’s adventures or vice versa, can you? They just don’t fit at all.

The thing with Mary (soon to be called “Strix,”) is that she was based on true stories of young children traumatized by bombs in WWII, something no country really wanted to talk about. The main difference is that Cass’ silence was due to her upbringing. Mary is physically unable to speak at all, period, ever.

The silence is the main thing that is similar, Mary’s not a martial artist in the traditional sense. She’s got the Talon abilities and is an astounding acrobat, very fierce, very feral in combat. And of course, Cass eventually was able to speak (in a very moving series of stories). And Mary lacks Cass’ complicated backstory and body reading abilities.

I also think it’s fair to say that Cass has had a conscience for a long time, something that Mary is only just discovering. When you’re writing the characters, things like that just seem immense, huge, like a vast character gulf.

When Mary was created, we wanted to give a moving background to a Talon, to make her different from all the rest. She’s a thousand times more in common with the other Talons than Cass…but if she reminds people of Cass a little bit, from Cass’ early days, I think that’s lovely, too.

Scott Snyder absolutely loved her in the original script and outline, and he is the one who first asked that she not die or be frozen. Then the reader response was so high that we got the opportunity to flesh her out a bit more. As her character grows, I think we’ll see very little similarity…but that bit IS out of my hands a little, as Duane is working with her in Birds of Prey. But he’s been great and I’m convinced he’s going to make her a wonderful addition to that book.

I love her, I think there’s tremendous potential.

Posted by sethysquare

@Ravager4 said:

Gail Simone said:

I've never read anything featuring Cassandra Cain, but after the annual came out I've seen a lot of comic readers online calling Talon Mary an expy of her. Do you think they're especially similar, or is this like when people said New 52 Barbara was just like Stephanie in terms of personality?

People saying Barbara is just like Steph don’t know their history at all, wow. The voices are not similar. If we have a model, it’s Batgirl: Year One and I think that’s pretty clear to anyone who has read that book. Believe me, I love Steph, I love Barbara, comparing them is a dead end every time. They’re different characters entirely. I am amazed anyone thinks their voices or MO’s are the same. The tone is different, it’s a different book. But, being two of the only young women with optimistic viewpoints in Gotham, I can see how people would latch on to that, but it’s pretty superficial. I can’t see Barbara having Steph’s adventures or vice versa, can you? They just don’t fit at all.

The thing with Mary (soon to be called “Strix,”) is that she was based on true stories of young children traumatized by bombs in WWII, something no country really wanted to talk about. The main difference is that Cass’ silence was due to her upbringing. Mary is physically unable to speak at all, period, ever.

The silence is the main thing that is similar, Mary’s not a martial artist in the traditional sense. She’s got the Talon abilities and is an astounding acrobat, very fierce, very feral in combat. And of course, Cass eventually was able to speak (in a very moving series of stories). And Mary lacks Cass’ complicated backstory and body reading abilities.

I also think it’s fair to say that Cass has had a conscience for a long time, something that Mary is only just discovering. When you’re writing the characters, things like that just seem immense, huge, like a vast character gulf.

When Mary was created, we wanted to give a moving background to a Talon, to make her different from all the rest. She’s a thousand times more in common with the other Talons than Cass…but if she reminds people of Cass a little bit, from Cass’ early days, I think that’s lovely, too.

Scott Snyder absolutely loved her in the original script and outline, and he is the one who first asked that she not die or be frozen. Then the reader response was so high that we got the opportunity to flesh her out a bit more. As her character grows, I think we’ll see very little similarity…but that bit IS out of my hands a little, as Duane is working with her in Birds of Prey. But he’s been great and I’m convinced he’s going to make her a wonderful addition to that book.

I love her, I think there’s tremendous potential.

Not sure how this got into my inbox, but I absolutely agree with everything Gail is saying.

Posted by fodigg

@Ravager4 said:

Gail Simone said:

I've never read anything featuring Cassandra Cain, but after the annual came out I've seen a lot of comic readers online calling Talon Mary an expy of her. Do you think they're especially similar, or is this like when people said New 52 Barbara was just like Stephanie in terms of personality?

People saying Barbara is just like Steph don’t know their history at all, wow. The voices are not similar. If we have a model, it’s Batgirl: Year One and I think that’s pretty clear to anyone who has read that book. Believe me, I love Steph, I love Barbara, comparing them is a dead end every time. They’re different characters entirely. I am amazed anyone thinks their voices or MO’s are the same. The tone is different, it’s a different book. But, being two of the only young women with optimistic viewpoints in Gotham, I can see how people would latch on to that, but it’s pretty superficial. I can’t see Barbara having Steph’s adventures or vice versa, can you? They just don’t fit at all.

The thing with Mary (soon to be called “Strix,”) is that she was based on true stories of young children traumatized by bombs in WWII, something no country really wanted to talk about. The main difference is that Cass’ silence was due to her upbringing. Mary is physically unable to speak at all, period, ever.

The silence is the main thing that is similar, Mary’s not a martial artist in the traditional sense. She’s got the Talon abilities and is an astounding acrobat, very fierce, very feral in combat. And of course, Cass eventually was able to speak (in a very moving series of stories). And Mary lacks Cass’ complicated backstory and body reading abilities.

I also think it’s fair to say that Cass has had a conscience for a long time, something that Mary is only just discovering. When you’re writing the characters, things like that just seem immense, huge, like a vast character gulf.

When Mary was created, we wanted to give a moving background to a Talon, to make her different from all the rest. She’s a thousand times more in common with the other Talons than Cass…but if she reminds people of Cass a little bit, from Cass’ early days, I think that’s lovely, too.

Scott Snyder absolutely loved her in the original script and outline, and he is the one who first asked that she not die or be frozen. Then the reader response was so high that we got the opportunity to flesh her out a bit more. As her character grows, I think we’ll see very little similarity…but that bit IS out of my hands a little, as Duane is working with her in Birds of Prey. But he’s been great and I’m convinced he’s going to make her a wonderful addition to that book.

I love her, I think there’s tremendous potential.

Which part was from Simone? The long part I'm assuming?

I didn't think of Cass at all when reading. I can see the similarity in the silence thing, but even that was different as Cass always tried to talk via pantomime and eventually halting sentences. She wasn't a mute indifferent zombie.

Bottom line, if your definition for similar characters is "martial artist chick" and you're reading a Batman book, you're gonna be seeing similar characters all up ins.

Posted by Hanson724

I thought this book was great and the art was beautiful... Until the last pages where the artist changed. Still looked good But not great. I've never read about Cass but there all kinds of characters with similar origins, powers or whatever. They're comics. When I read a lot of books by the same author you start running into repeating story lines but that's ok. When it's a blatant rip off that's one thing but something minor or vague ... I don't know it doesn't bother me.

Posted by tim_mik

It doesn't happen often, but I completely disagree with on this one. I not only liked Batgirl's tone more here than anywhere else in the new 52, but I enjoyed the plot and can't wait to see what happens with the new character. To me, this is Gail's best effort since the new 52, which while not saying much, I'm hoping it moves more in that direction from now on.