Member Blog Post
I wonder how far the huge media coverage surrounding DC's relaunched universe has reached into consciousness of people who normally couldn't care any less? I wonder which superheroes they think of? Superman? He's going to go back to his roots as a champion of the working man. Batman? I'm willing to bet he's in the lead in mindshare. Wonder Woman? I hope more people are thinking about Wonder Woman.
I'm happy to report, though, that Batgirl #1 is superb. It may not appeal to non-comics fans but hopefully new readers will pick it up. Barbara Gordon has returned to the cowl and has taken up the fight against crime.
This was done with no small amount of fan controversy. Batgirl had her career drastically changed in 1988 in a one-shot graphic novel called The Killing Joke, where she was shot and crippled by The Joker. The superhero genre in 1980's was full of this mean-spirited "gritty realism" and superhero house cleaning. No Batgirls, no Batboys, no Batdogs, no Bat-Mites, no Bat-shark repellents - everything must be REALISTIC, i.e. without innocence, charm, humor, surrealism or whimsy. Wham! Pow! Comics aren't just for kids anymore!
Regardless Barbara Gordon as a character survived, although confined to a wheelchair under the new codename Oracle. She continued the war on crime as a hacker, leader, information broker and all around asskicking woman, particularly under the pen of writer Gail Simone. She became a very important icon for the disabled community. New female characters took up the Batgirl cowl.
But DC Comics has pressed a new reset button, and Barbara Gordon again dances on the Gotham skyline, a decision which concerned some fans who felt Batgirl represented disabled people.
All that said, Batgirl #1 contains beautiful linework from penciller Ardian Syaf with impressive inking by Vicente Sifuentes. Most of all, Batgirl Barbara Gordon retains the strong, lively and tenacious voice of the dedicated crimefighter Simone cemented a while back. The paneling is dynamic, a good blend of prose and visual action that's neither decompressed or overwordy. We also get some quotable great lines, a strength for Simone.
"Oh yes. Feeling a creep crumble under my feet. I didn't even know how much I missed it."
A mystery is in the works with a new villain named The Mirror, who tests Barbara's confidence and nerve. Far more interesting to me though was Batgirl's opening fight with a kid gang of cheaply masked serial killer wannabes dubbed "The Brisby Killers". They look to be in the same tradition as the masked killers in the 2008 horror film "The Strangers" or the disturbing preppy duo of 2007's "Funny Games". I hope we see them again.
Pick it up if you're inclined. Maybe your son or daughter would like it?