Year One

Authors: Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon
Artists: Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez
Titan Books
RRP: £14.99
ISBN 1 84023 741 4
Available now

Too short to join the Police force, too small to sign up for the FBI, yet all Commissioner Gordon's hot-headed daughter Barbara wants to do is help people. She sets out her own cunning plan, complete with a mask, a cape and a utility belt, to become an amateur crusader. It's not long before she realises that taking on muggers is one thing, but tackling super villains is going to catapult her into another league altogether...

Batgirl: Year One is very similar to Batman: Year One. It follows the origins of the Batgirl, with the stories revealed spanning the time between her being refused entry into the police force, right up until she is accepted by Batman as being worthy of carrying the title of the Batgirl.

In some respects, for me, this was a better collection than Batman: Year One. The origins of Batgirl were not overly familiar to me. Sure, I knew she was Gordon's daughter, but I wasn't aware that Batman was anti her running around with a bat symbol on her chest. Nor was I aware that she originally designed the Batgirl costume for an innocent fancy-dress ball.

Well written and beautifully illustrated, this collection also sees the introduction of some of Batman's old enemies - Killer Moth, Firefly and, most amusingly, the Condiment King.

Batman is absent from the majority of this collection, which stops it becoming just another Batman story. There is also some sexual tension between The Boy Wonder and Batgirl, which is well handled, as is the relationship between Barbara and Commissioner Gordon - who seems to find it hard balancing the role of father and police commissioner.

This is a collection for anyone who enjoys great storytelling. One of the best releases from the Bat-stable for some time.

Pete Boomer

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