Tag Archive: Batgirl


I’m something approaching  early this week. I wanted to get this posted the day it came out instead of  waiting until tomorrow. I also wanted to do something to apologize for being so late last week, so I’m posting a review tomorrow as well. Bringing this to you thanks to NetGalley, here’s a review of DC Universe Rebirth: Batgirl volume 1: Beyond Burnside. Enjoy!

Batgirl vol 1 Beyond Burnside cover

Batgirl is on vacation, and Barbara Gordon is headed to Okinawa in hopes of interviewing Chiyo Yamashiro, the Fruit Bat, a vigilante from the 30’s. Even on vacation Barbara manages to find trouble in the form of her childhood friend Kai and the three “students” hunting him down. Can she figure out what Kai’s gotten himself into and how to save him or will Batgirl flunk out?

I feel very out of my depth reviewing this. It’s been since Gail Simone left the Book that I’ve read a Batgirl comic and I’ve missed a lot. That said, while there’s some thing’s I’m not a huge fan of, I find myself really liking this iteration of Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl. Hope Larson does a good job with the characters and a more than reasonably good job with the story.

Let’s actually start with that. What makes this Batgirl different than what I’m used to? She feels a lot younger for one, that’s one of those things I’m not real big on, but it also lends a lighter feel to the comic so it balances out. She’s apparently running her own company as well, a company that makes enough that she can travel around the world pretty easily, so that’s something I’m curious about. I’m also interested in what’s going on in Burnside, which seems to be Batgirl’s Bludhaven, her Gotham in a way. So a lot of that actually makes for a really good jumping on point. The character is familiar enough not to alienate a reader who’s either lapsed or someone who knows her from something else, but also fresh enough to feel new.

The flipside is that the arc that Beyond Burnside covers is very standard Batfamily stuff. The new old friend, Kai, just happens to be Barbara’s roommate at the first place she stays. He gets attacked while they’re out seeing a festival and meeting Fruit Bat, thus introducing our villain. Necessary coincidences happen as required. It’s a good building point, and I’m curious about some of the characters, but it does feel like a safe introduction kind of story. This being the first arc for the DC Universe Rebirth for Batgirl, that’s not a bad thing just very safe.

I’m not familiar with Rafael Albuquerque’s art. It’s not my favorite thing, and I do feel like it’s one of the weaker parts of the book. This is mostly due to the lack of backgrounds throughout the book. Having a single solid color backing the panel can be a great way to reinforce the emotion of a scene, if used sparingly. I feel like it’s overused here, which makes it lose its effectiveness and just feels a little off. Albuquerque’s faces can be fantastically emotive, though they can also slip into something just slightly off, something about the angling in some of the close-ups or just going a little too far with an expression.

I enjoyed this a good deal, it was fun, it did the job of introducing the world at large to keep my interest past this arc, and the one-shot story at the end was a good way to tie up loose ends and cool down from the arc. Batgirl Volume 1: Beyond Burnside gets a four out of five from me, it would have been a five if not for the few issues with the art.

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Yeah, I’m back on this again and ignoring that review that I’ll be posting probably either later tonight or sometime tomorrow.  Here’s the thing, I’ve been a fan of Barbara Gordon since back in the nineties with Batman the Animated Series when I had no clue that the comics were any different.   Back then, I had no idea that The Killing Joke had happened or that there was a second Batgirl.  This was the character that I wanted to grow up to be.  She was like Velma but with more attitude and she got to work with Batman.

Fast forward to sometime during high school and I’ve heard of The Killing Joke but not read it.  I’ve heard that there was a second Batgirl and that she was rather poorly delt with for a chunk of her run in the cape.  But I hadn’t really started reading comics yet.  The Sandman, sure but that was because the school library had it in trade paperbacks and I had free time while being a library aide.  It was around this time that I started to get more interested in comics as a whole, so I’d started reading up on DC’s super heroes to see who I wanted to focus on.

Fast forward again to around February.  Holy cow there’s going to be a Batwoman monthly comic!  Issue #0 is coming out and The Question is going to be in Birds of Prey!  I was practically dancing in my seat with this one.  Plus I was trying to keep up with the Odyssy of Wonder Woman arc of Wonder Woman because I wanted to see how they changed the character.  And follow it through to Flashpoint and my various rants on that, it’s really one of the things that sticks out at me as a forced money grab even now.  But I’ve finally got that Batwoman ongoing as part of my draw list, and Birds of Prey is still pretty cool even without Lady Blackhawk or Huntress.

It’s kind of itchy though, reading Batgirl and seeing Barbara go from tough leadery Oracle to a Batgirl so full of self doubt that I almost expect that the villain is going to wind up doing himself in rather than her winning.This is where I get to the meat of my ramble, don’t worry the rest was just back story.  Now, not all of the sources agree, but apparently Babs was Oracle sometime during those three years post-Flashpoint.  Why isn’t she still?  I’m basing this mostly on the character I was reading back in Birds of Prey but it’s hard to see her giving up the autonomy of being a hero on her own to step back under the Batmantle.  Out of the chair she’s still the same character, or at least she should be.  Post-Flashpoint Batgirl seems to assume a Barbara who never quit being Batgirl prior to The Killing Joke, one who would go back to that after having been Oracle.

This is a character who questioned her reasons for crime fighting right up through the eighties when she quit and was then shot in the spine for being related to Batman’s supporting cast.  Except it isn’t anymore, maybe.  What was DCnU Barbara Gordon like before the Joker shot her?  Was she Silver Age Batgirl with her Batpurse and day job as a librarian?  Was she BtAS Batgirl the plucky not quite side kick?  Heck, was she Stephanie Brown with red hair and no history as Spoiler?  I’m growing tired of DCnU Batgirl’s near constant self questioning.  I understand that she’s not at a hundred percent yet and I understand that Gail Simone is laying the basis for the rest of the comic, but the more I read the less I like Babs and the more I want to just quietly go back to finding Oracle’s appearances in trade paperbacks.

This is one of those situations where I want to see what other people have to say about this.  I’m going to keep reading for at least the next arc to see how DCnU Babs develops, but I’m thinking that this may not be something that stays on my draw list much longer. What do you think internets?  Does the current incarnation make more sense to you that it does me?  Where do you think Simone is going to go with Batgirl from here?

Batgirl Issue #1

This was going to go up sometime last night, but then my internet decided to derp and I lost the original post.  Not that that matters much though, because I finally got to read the new Batgirl!  Much as I’d expected, I walked away from reading it not really sure if I liked it or not.  This Babs went through the events of The Killing Joke, yes, but she was to all appearances still Batgirl at the time.  Why didn’t any of the bad guys put two and two together and figure out that the commissioner’s daughter and Batgirl were the same person when this happened?  Did someone step in with a red wig while she was out?  Did they start a rumor that she and the big Bat had a falling out and she quit after this?  The good news is that issue 1 does show Babs dealing with being out of her wheel chair and other characters reacting to it.  The bad news, to my mind anyway, is that this Babs never seems to have been Oracle.  I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent here, but Oracle!Babs is the only one I’ve read until now and I tend to associate Bat!Babs with the Batman Animated Series and her more carefree pre- Killing Joke incarnation, thus part of the lack of Oracle thing.

I’m of two minds here.  On one hand, it’s Barbara Gordon as Batgirl again and the writing is covering her reactions to things through the lens of a post- Killing Joke Babs. On the other hand, it’s Barbara Gordon as Batgirl again and I haven’t heard anything about what they’re going to do with the other two Batgirls, also back to the lack of Oracle.  Part of me is really happy because this is like a piece of my childhood coming back with the potential to be really awesome.  Another,somewhat larger part would have loved to see an Oracle who could (and would) step in when someone or something threatened her Birds but who was still more or less that Oracle.  Both parts found it rather hilarious when Babs corrected the people referring to her as Batwoman.

It’s probably obvious by now, but I’m going to give this at least a couple more months because it’s still Barbara Gordon as written by Gail Simone.  What about you guys?  Any thoughts on the DCnU now that stuff is actually happening?

So Babs was Still Oracle?

OK, I’m behind on this is a big way.  Apparently DC recently sent out a FAQ of sorts to some comic shops that explains about the new 52, mostly by talking about how “epic and ambitious” it is for the questions section and then going into marketing and  wordbites from various areas of the press.

Three things struck me about this, things that may make me a bit of a harder sell come September than I’d expected even given my current feelings towards this.  Countdown time.

3) The previously mentioned “epic and ambitious” comments – Yes, I get that this is supposed to be a really big deal for DC, but so was 52 and Final Crisis and Crisis on Infinite Earths and Darkest Night.  The fact that this seemed to be the answer for everything just doesn’t flow right for me for the same reason that I’m probably not going to check out someone’s band if all they can say is that it’s “epic”.  Sure it’s a bit ambitious to take this kind of chance with their current readers, but I would think that it would be more so to stick with what they already had and write from there.  Yes, it’s intimidating to get into comics at issue #643 or even issue #87 but I don’t think the renumbering is going to draw in that many new long term readers.  Why waste the word epic to describe it in your FAQ?  It’s over used anymore as is and makes the writer sound a bit like a parent trying to be “down with the young folks”.

2) Wonder Woman Listed as a “Possible Sleeper Hit” – She’s one of the big three, so this just throws me.  Yes, Wondy has some really wonky villains and some really messed up story lines, but she’s still billed as one of their big heroes and has a higher chance of getting marketed than just about any other DC heroine I can think of.  Do her comics really do that bad?  I don’t really have a problem on this one, just thrown off.

1) The Killing Joke Happened – This one bothers my sensibilities as a writer more than anything and for multiple reasons.  Firstly, if everything’s been condensed into five years, when did The Killing Joke happen?  This assumes that they haven’t tweaked it for the reboot and that Babs had already been Batgirl and wasn’t anymore at the time.  How long was she Batgirl if super heroes have only been around for five years and she had time as Oracle?  How long was she oracle?  Did she work with/lead the Birds of Prey?  They’re going to have to be really careful with explanations here.  I personally cannot see a Barbara Gordon who had been both Batgirl and Oracle going back to being Batgirl.  Making up a new identity and using that?  Well, yes, maybe even becoming a more action oriented version of Oracle but not taking back the Batmantle.

Also, if we assume that Babs was Oracle for a while, will there be mentions of Cassandra Cain’s Batgirl?  I’ve already heard rumors about Stephanie Brown being back without her Robin/Batgirl history.  Does that mean that we’re going to get Black Bat out of nowhere?  Where did all the Robins come from if Bats has only been at work for five years?  The FAQ said something about keeping some of the big character defining moments for characters.  Was Jason Todd still blown up by the Joker?  Was Cass still trained from birth to be the ultimate assassin?  Where in the world did Damian come from?  I’m off subject, but having The Killing Joke still in play as well as all the other Bats roaming around brings up far more questions that I think will get answered. It seems like a lazy set up to keep as many characters as possible without taking their histories into account.  I’d love to hear more on this if anyone knows anything about it.

I want to know what you guys have heard about the New 52.  Anything that doesn’t quite add up?  Wild mass guessing?  Anyone want to try to answer the Question?

Yeah, I decided to do this.  I know they’re saying that it isn’t actually a reboot, but considering the changes that are being made and the renumbering, I call bull on that.

So, why is the book reviewer talking comics?  Because I like the stories and any number of the characters and because it seems really bone headed of DC to be doing another reboot so soon after 52.  Let’s take t from the top then, shall we?

Barbara Gordon as Batgirl again:  This really isn’t such a terrible thing just looking at it.  Babs is the Batgirl that’s used in just about any mainstream Batman related media, but she’s also so much more than Batgirl as of now.  What happens to Oracle now that Babs is back on the streets of Gotham?  Is she going to be replaced by Proxy?  Will she just stop existing or become what Babs does when there are no major crimes happening in Gotham?  For that matter, what happens to Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, the other two Batgirls?  Given what DC is doing with other members of the Batfamily, maybe Stephanie will go back to being Spoiler and Cassandra will show up in Batman Inc. as the Black Bat.  Which leads to another question.  Why are three of the five Robins getting front billing on their own comics, but two of the three Batgirls are getting shafted?  That doesn’t seem right.

Birds of Prey:  I can kind of understand the need for a new line up here what with Oracle not being Oracle any more and Hawk and Dove getting their own comic again, but what about Lady Blackhawk?  Is she going to be in the Blackhawks reboot that seems totally unnecessary and more grimdark than anything since the mid-nineties?  Are they getting rid of her because of the Blackhawks reboot?  Who is new girl with the tattoos?  What is Poison Ivy doing 1) as a good guy and 2) wearing spandex?  I always figured that her costume was plant matter of some sort and short to draw in men and readers.  Why does Black Canary need a new costume besides DC claiming that all the heroes get new outfits?  I just don’t see this working out well, not going to stop me from reading the first few issues but the changes seem unnecessary to the max.

Harley Quinn:  Just Harley Quinn.  DC seems to be ignoring what made the character popular enough to bring from Batman the Animated Series to the DCU proper, people liked the Joker’s sometimes goofy sometimes terrifyingly effective hench wench.  The new design and her apparent disconnect from the Joker could easily kill reader interest for the character.  I could be wrong, people could love her, but it seems like DC would have done better to just make a new character.

Batwoman: This is going to get into some minor character stuff and complaints about timeline shenanigans.  I’ve been waiting to read Batwoman one since February, so I’m kind of excited that it’s finally going to happen but what kinds of changes can we expect to have happened between now and the reboot?  Best I know Kate was introduced during 52 and then was the lead for Detective comics for awhile, so she’s a fairly new character.   How much of what’s already happened with her is going to stand?  Does she have the same back story and the same military history?  Do she and Renee Montoya still have the same personal history?  If so, is Renee still the Question?  Is Alice still Kate’s Joker or will she be written out to provide a surprise appearance by Kate’s no longer dead twin later on?  How do the changes in the time line effect the characters who will appear?  This is probably one of the new titles that I have the most questions about what and how much will be changed.  It’s new enough that they can more or less start from whole cloth and not break too much, but at the same time J. H. Williams III has been working on it since at least February.  Does that change anything or did he know from the start that there was a reboot coming?  Also, does Bab’s return to the Batsuit make Kate kind of unnecessary?  They are completely different characters but, given that DC doesn’t seem to be doing anything with the other two Batgirls, can we expect the company to give both of them the same face time that they will their male heroes without making an utter joke about both of them?

The Robins: I’ve mentioned this a little earlier, but why do three of the four former Robins get top billing on their own comics?  Stephanie, the fourth Robin, was Spoiler after being Robin but  before becoming Batgirl.  Why haven’t we seen anything with her as a major character?  Heck, Jason Todd was dead until a couple of years ago, why’s he get to lead his own team?  Why is there still a Damian Wayne if Cassandra Cain is gone?  Given that DC said it wants to have more diversity, why are they giving such attention to a bunch of black haired, blue- eyed, dudes?  Why not ditch at least one of them and keep another female Bat?  I really want to see their reasoning behind this.

So Many Batman Comics: Pulling up a list of post reboot comics, Batman shows up in at least 6 not including the further 7 involving various members of the Batfamily.  I understand that Bats makes DC a lot of money, I get that, but if they’re going to make a big deal of having 52 new number one issues why not limit Bruce to his own comic and one of the new team ups?  There are only so many places that Batman can be at once and they seem content to saturate the reboot with more Bruce Wayne.  Yes, I know that there are 3 Green Lantern comics coming out, but at least there are also three Earth based Green Lanterns.

Black Hawks Reboot: Heroes from the greatest generation get rebooted as mercenaries and soldiers for hire.  Apparently Zinda Blake has either been rebooted or is hiding from the shame of it.  Seems like needless war grimdark.

Sargent Rock Reboot: More seemingly needless new stuff.  Sargent Rock was the last man killed on the last day of World War 2 with the last bullet fired, he shouldn’t be replaced by his grandson.  Easy company should not become mercenaries.  This seems like more of an attempt to piss off older readers than an attempt to draw in new ones.

I’ll probably have more to say on the matter when the reboot actually happens.  I’ll probably complain about there not being nearly enough of the Question, but that’s for then.  I really haven’t heard any more than the average comic reader on this, but something of this scope seems like it could have been thought out better.  What I’m wondering now is what you guys think.