Babs needs a break after those chaotic few weeks in Burnside where her memory was tampered with. So she sets off on a backpacking trip through Asia. On pure coincidence, she runs into an old friend, Kai, at the hostel she’s staying at in Okinawa. It becomes clear that he’s being targeted – but by who? The attackers all have the same tattoo: the Chinese characters for “student.” So who is the Teacher, and why do they want Kai so badly? He’s gotten into trouble in the past, but he swears to Babs he’s clean now. Batgirl isn’t so sure. She needs to find this Teacher, and why he or she is after her friend, fast.

I’m 50/50 on this one. It was a quick, light read, the story was pretty good, and the international setting was refreshing. There was a really fun story at the end, when Babs is traveling back to Gotham, with a killer plant eating the plane and Batgirl and Poison Ivy trying to stop it. But the art was AWFUL. It looked like the entire book was half-finished. The backgrounds were blurred and out of focus, and the figures had that odd blend of cross-hatch and block shading that I absolutely loathe. I’ll pick up the second volume to see what Babs makes of herself in Gotham after this adventure, but if the art is more of the same I’m just going to have to put it down.

– Kathleen

Larson, Hope, Rafael Albuquerque, and Dave McCaig. Batgirl (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Beyond Burnside. 2017.

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