What better time for DC Comics to release “Batgirl/Robin: Year One” than around the same time they’re publishing the Batman: Zero Year event. Everyone is excited to remind themselves of why they fell in love with these characters. The book is made up issues 1 through 4 of Robin: Year One and issues 1 through 9 of Batgirl: Year One.
Writers Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon take the origin stories of Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon and expand upon their motivations for teaming up with the Dark Knight. This helps to get readers emotionally invested in the characters by giving them more depth and visually bringing to life their backstories. It’s a blast to get to see the first time Robin fights side-by-side with Batman and how he reacts to his new life as a super hero. We also get to witness the first time Batgirl meets Batman and her early attempts at crime fighting her own way.
Of course, any stories worth their weight taking place in Gotham City are expected to feature appearances by Batman’s biggest foes. Robin and Batgirl conveniently run into Killer Moth, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Blockbuster, the Mad Hatter, the League of Assassins, and Firefly in the beginning of their careers. Batgirl even joins forces with a major member of the Justice Society of America for one adventure.
Artists Javier Pulido and Marcos Martin bring a classic Golden Age feel to “Batgirl/Robin: Year One.” Beatty and Dixon’s words are brought to vivid life with a style that brings to mind Bob Kane, Dick Sprang, and others who brought the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder to life on paper in the 1940s and 1950s. The illustrations for both tales have a very nostalgic and paramount flavor to them.
If I were rating “Batgirl/Robin: Year One” according to its content, the book would carry an “M” for mature. There are a few sections where the outlines of nude girls are shown. You can’t see any details of the body parts, but it’s still a little too much for my taste.
12 pages of bonus material are featured in “Batgirl/Robin: Year One.” They include a Batgirl Secret Files pinup, character and cover sketches, and page processes for her book. There are also layout and pencils and character studies for Robin: Year One.
“Batgirl/Robin: Year One” is the perfect companion to sit next to your deluxe edition of Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One.” One might not feel it’s as monumental as Miller’s saga, but it still holds its own. The book demands respect through its engaging storylines and exciting and energetic artwork.
“Batgirl/Robin: Year One” is available now in paperback and Kindle editions.