Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review of Batgirl: To Dare the Darkness

Book 24. Batgirl: To Dare the Darkness, by Doug Moench. Unabridged audio.

This is a YA novel that takes place in the Batman & Robin movie universe, in which Bargirl was played by Alicia Silverstone. It was published in 1997, and is written by a veteran comic book writer.

Wayne Tech has a creepy new employee. He villainous Black Mask has been turning people into weapons. Barbara Wilson (not Gordon, for some reason) believes that these events are related, and that they imply that dark days are coming. Bruce Wayne is not so sure that there is a connection. At least not at first.

This novel takes place early in Batgirl’s career. She quits her crime-fighting job at one point early in the book, dropping her mask in the Batcave. It is a poignant scene, made even more so when Batman leaves the mask where she dropped it, waiting for her to return and pick it back up. It’s a nice character moment for Barbara, Batman & even Robin.

In addition to her crime-fighting colleagues, Alfred also appears as a supporting character in the book, but Moench does a good job keeping this Barbara’s story. Despite the number of “larger than life” characters in the cast, this is definitely a Batgirl story. In the course of taking on Black Mask, she works with Robin a lot, proposing to Batman at the end that they all become a team.

Moench’s sense of comic book storytelling keeps the plot moving at a good pace. But there are many moments where the YA requirements for simplicity hurt the overall enjoyment level of the story.

Source: This book was read in chapters over a number of episodes of the podcast FromBatgirl to Oracle. The host of the show, Stella, did a wonderful job bringing the voices of all of the characters to life.

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