Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cassandra Cain and B.P.R.D.

I'm having a hard time tracking down some of Cass Cain's Batgirl titles. Most of them are out of print. My library has a few titles available, but I'm going to have to request them from different branches. I did get my eager little hands on a copy of Batgirl: Death Wish by Kelley Puckett and Chuck Dixon
I'm not in love with the art in this one, but the story remains very solid. We learn more about Cass' unsavory upbringing and the guilt she carries from her past. Oracle is still a major player  (yay!), and there is a charming mini-adventure involving Spoiler, the girl who will eventually take Cass' place as Batgirl. Cass also has a "death match" with Lady Shiva, fulfilling her promise from the last book (one death match, in exchange for Shiva's help in repairing Cass' preternatural sensory/empathic skills). Great stuff.
In addition to the Batgirl/Batfamily world, I'm starting to delve into Hellboy country. I enjoyed the Hellboy movies, and kept hearing great things about Mike Mignola's Hellboy/B.P.R.D books. To date I've read two of the B.P.R.D books, Being Human and Hell on Earth: New World.

Being Human is a stand-alone collection, so this was a good place to start. It didn't hurt that one of the stories featured Liz Sherman, a pyrokinetic agent and my favorite character from the films. After accidentally killing her family, Liz was sent to the B.P.R.D headquarters for monitoring, and the scientists/agents there eventually help her to control her powers. In "The Dead Remembered," Liz goes on her first adventure, one involving a malevolent spirit from the Salem Witch trial. She also begins to come to terms with her past, and her role in B.P.R.D.

In Hell on Earth: New World, Liz is reported as missing, and I slowly realize that the reason why there is a #1 on the spine is not because it's #1 in the B.P.R.D. adventures, but #1 in the Hell on Earth sequence of events. Which apparently means that I've skipped, oh, about 15 trade paperbacks worth of character development, missions, and plot lines. Sigh.

This is not to say that Hell on Earth: New World wasn't a compelling read. There's events of apocalyptic proportions happening all over the world, and Houston has apparently been wiped off the map. The B.P.R.D team is splintered, weary from damage control. But I'm sure it would have been a much better read if I had known which #1 to pick up first. Met all the characters properly, witnessed what caused these massive catastrophes. You know, good stuff like that.

That's my biggest complaint about the comic book world. It's so hard to figure out where to start. Hellboy and B.P.R.D. are pretty self-contained, but even then a girl can get confused if there are two #1's in the B.P.R.D books, but only one (the wrong one!) on the local comic book shelves. It gets even harder to wade through the superhero worlds of DC and Marvel. Say I really do want to read all about Barbara Gordon's adventures as Batgirl and Oracle? Where do I start? Where is the beginning? Oracle is in Birds of Prey, but she's in Cass Cain's Batgirl books too. What about Stephanie Brown's run? What about the regular Batman books? Which Batman books? They appear to be a hundred million, and there are more than one Batman. 

Wikipedia has been of some help, but even that can get confusing. Here's the entry on Barbara Gordon. See what I mean?

1 comment:

  1. Does Amazon not have any of the periodicals that you seek?