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Puckett, Kelley, Scott Peterson, Damion Scott, and Robert Campanella. Batgirl: Silent Running. 2001.

During the No-Man’s Land arc, Barbara Gordon plucked a girl out of the rubble and took care of her. After Huntress gave up the mantle of Batgirl, Barbara passes the girl, Cassandra Cain, onto Batman, to train as the new Batgirl. There’s very little to teach her. Cass was once the adoptive daughter of a ruthless assassin, David Cain. She is so proficient at fighting that she can read your body and understand it like a language. It’s the only way she knows how to communicate. She seems perfect, but there’s a catch. Bruce receives a video of what appears to be a young Cass – assassinating someone at the guidance of her adoptive father. And a man that Cass rescues one night happens to be a psychic who accidentally rearranges her brain, “fixing” (for lack of a better word) the language center in her brain so she has words, but at the expense of her fighting prowess. Can she get it back? Can she continue to be Batgirl if she can’t fight?

The cartoony art reminded me of the JSA book I reviewed a while back. The art of this book was in kind of the same style, and in some ways, it was improved. The shading was much better in this book. The anatomy in some of the panels really started to weird me out though. There’s a bit where Barbara looks like she’d gotten lip implants from one panel to the next. For all the problems I had with it, it was actually kind of impressive. Because Cass is mute, a good portion of the book has no words. The art really had to carry the story, and for the most part it did a good job. It amazed me how expressive Cass was in her Batgirl suit, which has the eyes completely obscured and the mouth sewn shut.

I wanted to try to broaden my horizons by reading this, as I’m not too keen on any Batgirl other than Barbara. After finishing, though, I find that to be truer than ever. I was too put off by the weird art. This cartoony stuff just really isn’t my style. I also didn’t like how Cass gained language so early. She didn’t need “fixing,” and it felt like a cop-out of truly trying to tell her story without words as much as it did a plot device. It was okay to read but I have too many problems with it to continue the arc.

– Kathleen

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