If this is your first time to the site: welcome! There are a few things you need to know, the previous book titled Batgirl is one of my favorite books ever in comic-dom. When DC Comics announced the New 52 (or #DCnU to the Twitterverse) I was understandably a little sad to see my favorite title and a great character going away.
When Gail Simone was named as the writer of the New 52 Batgirl, my interests were piqued. When I heard Batgirl would be Barbara Gordon rather than Stephanie Brown, I was concerned, but still interested.
For the past couple of decades Barbara Gordon has been rolling around the DC Universe as the superhero community version of “The Wolf” from ‘Pulp Fiction’. Barbara was maimed by the Joker in a vicious attack in the groundbreaking Alan Moore graphic novel ‘The Killing Joke’. In an instant she went from Batgirl to crippled.
If you need to know anything about Barbra Gordon, or Babs as she is affectionally known, she never quits. When she first donned the Cape and Cowl, she was told to hit the bricks by the Batman. She was not to be deterred, and went about becoming the best Batgirl and hero she could be. In the process she became an icon.
After her attack by the Joker, she didn’t just wallow in self-pity. No, she went about becoming THE most integral asset in all of the DCU, a super-hacker known as Oracle. As Oracle, Babs helped everyone from Batman to Superman and all the heroes in between; even heading up her own team of crime fighters the Birds of Prey. Even though she couldn’t walk, it didn’t stop her; Babs did what she always does… becomes an icon.
Now, that you know a bit about where Barbara came from, you can understand why where she is going is so important. DC Comics thankfully did the right thing and didn’t erase all of Babs’ history; she was still paralyzed and the Joker is the one who still did it. So thank you DC Comics and Gail Simone. The interesting new twist to Batgirl returning to the streets to fight some crime; she’s not without her baggage. There is an interesting series of panels where a thug points a gun at her in a similar fashion to how the Joker did before shooting her and she froze.
‘Batgirl’ #1 starts off perfectly. Right from the start we are introduced to the villain with whom Barbara/Batgirl will be going head to head. The mysterious killer known as The Mirror, with his list of survivors who should have died (how very Final Destination of you Ms. Simone) traveling around setting things “right”. This will be a villain that will hopefully be stalking Barbara for a while, because the idea of death coming back for her after three years is uber-cool!
One, thing we need to to learn in future issues… what was the miracle that gave Babs the use of her legs back? It will be very interesting to see just how she was able to rise up to the rooftops once more. Of course walking isn’t the only big change for the newly all-terrain Ms. Gordon, she’s moving out of the Commissioner’s house to live on her own (or at least with a roommate).
There was something very familiar with these few pages, and it finally hit me. This way Simone is telling this story is similar to the way Chuck Dixon told the story of Dick Grayson/Nightwing moving away from Gotham City. Instead of moving out of the shadow of her great mentor, Barbara is moving out of the shadow of the wheelchair. I’m sure this will be a theme to push/haunt her for many issues to come, and I for one welcome the drama it will bring.
Even the roommate was familiar, she reminded me a bit of Dick’s “super” Clancy. There was a nice bit of comedy when the roommate tried to help unload the Batgirl-mobile (er Van), which happens to be where the Batgirl-cycle is residing. Using her computer know-how, Barbara had the Commissioner’s phone cloned so she would receive the same notifications and texts as him, giving her a leg up to fight some crime.
All in all, this was a nice start to one of the New 52 books every fanboy and fangirl was looking forward to reading. This book was really well written and Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes wonderful artwork tells a story all by itself. While, taking Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair sparked a lot of controversy amongst the net nerds, I am happy to say the first installment of Batgirl should be added to your “must read” short list (and to your pull-list if you haven’t already). Good luck finding the sold out first issue, if you missed picking it up today, pre-oredering or have it on your pull-list you’ll have to either wait for the second printing or hit up Comixology and get the digital version. If I rated books I’d give this one a sold 5/5.
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciler: Ardian Syaf
Inker: Ulises Arreola
Colorist: David Baron
Cover: Adam Huges