Publisher: DC Comics
Author: Sarah Kuhn
Artist: Nicole Goux
Released: February 4th, 2020
I received a copy of Shadow of the Batgirl in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Shadow of the Batgirl is the latest in a run of series focused on a slightly younger audience. That being said, fans of Cassandra Cain will absolutely want to check this one out.
This graphic novel is a new retelling on Cass’ origin story. So it’s not going to be quite what you remember. For that matter, Cass won’t be exactly what you remember, or expect. There are some artistic liberties being taken here, but the end result is something fun and interesting.
Cassandra Cain was born and raised to be an assassin. Until one day she stopped. She fled from her father – and her whole life, and instead sought to create something new for herself. What she found was Batgirl. It was the hope and inspiration she needed.
Shadow of the Batgirl was a fun and interesting read. Cass is a tortured soul, one who has gone through so much, only to come out on top. What I especially loved about her origin here is that every positive change made in her life was done because of her choices. She chose to run away. She chose to create something new and better for herself. She chose to save people. There’s something beautiful in that.
As I mentioned above, it’s an origin story. But it takes several unexpected twists and turns along the way. I imagine a lot of the changes were partially due to artistic license, but also partially due to the intended audience.
On the whole, I honestly really didn’t mind the changes. Though perhaps it was a bit jarring to see a version of Barbara Gordon/Oracle who was so open and free – and so willing to share her secret. Okay, and the Cass talking bit too, let’s not ignore that. But I honestly felt like that was almost a natural extension to this story, so it was less jarring that one might expect.
The artwork in Shadow of the Batgirl was a perfect blend, as well as being a thematic match for the rest of these series. It’s fun and bubbly, sticking with just a simple color palette to get the point across. It’s effective, and forces us to focus more on what the characters are doing or saying.
Cass is not a character who spends a lot of time talking. And thus the artwork, provided by Nicole Goux – had to do a whole lot of the heavy lifting here. I think she did an excellent job. She did a great job of showing how agile Cass is, and how quickly she was able to move around a room or any other obscure location.
Shadow of the Batgirl was everything I was hoping it would be. It was entertaining, and yet also surprisingly dark (given the target demographic). I’m happy that they didn’t dilute Cass’ story for the sake of making it more palatable. I feel like that was an important decision made.
I’ve now read several of these origin story retellings (again, with the intention of being approachable to a younger audience) and I’ve got to say that this is one of my favorites. So far, at any rate. I will be curious to see who will be next up on the list.