Fists of Fury

Authors: Kelly Puckett and Scott Peterson
Artists: Damion Scott, Vincent Giarrano and Phil Noto
Titan Books
RRP: £9.99
1 84023 820 8
Available 23 July 2004

Cassandra Cain has walked away from encounters with the likes of Lady Shiva, the world's premier martial artist, and even Cassandra's own father, the deadly assassin David Cain. But can even Batgirl survive a confrontation with Batman's archenemies the Joker? In addition, Batgirl must also overcome the lunacy of an ingenious scientist, face off against a "Jokerised" Shadow Thief, mentor a fellow female crimefighter, and defeat a trio of deadly assailants...

Fists of Fury is the latest Batgirl collection to be released featuring the exploits of the 'new' Batgirl, Cassandra Cain.

To be quite honest, this isn't a patch on the collections that have come before. It's not that this it offers a poor story. It's just that it is a little too cluttered. There seems to be too much going on, and at the same time, nothing seems to really happen.

This ties in neatly with the events that unfold in Batman: Bruce Wayne Murderer? and Batman: Bruce Wayne Fugitive (Vols 1, 2 and 3) as Batgirl attempts to unravel whether Bruce Wayne was really responsible for the murder of Vesper Fairchild. But, this is yet another tiny element that is thrown in to the mix for no apparently good reason. It's as thought the writers were attempting to attract as many readers as possible (fans of The Joker, Lady Shiva, Spoiler and Batman) and not staying true to their main character.

I was never a huge fan of the clumsy vigilante Spoiler, and this collection didn't make me alter my opinion. In fact, if you've never come across her before then you will have a hard time working out who she is - as her name is never mentioned in this collection.

Also, the blurb on the back of this collection talks about Batgirl walking away from encounters with Lady Shiva... er... well, she may have done in the past, but a large part of this graphic novel concerns itself with Batgirl recovering after beating Lady Shiva... so I hope whoever wrote that synopsis has been shot.

It certainly not for those who are thinking of starting their acquaintance with the Batgirl - this is only really for seasoned fans - and they may feel a little cheated.

Pete Boomer

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