Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: AdrianSyaf, BarbaraGordon, Batgirl, DCNew52, gailsimone, StephBrown, UlisesArreola
Wowza. Babs is back and it is beautiful. I feel a lot of pressure to do this book Justice(!) in the review, it really is that incredible.
I should start with Batgirl’s look. Black, gold, purple and her trademark fiery locks. It screams bad-ass Bat, right down to the symbol on the knee-pads. I foresee a bunch of cosplay replicas at Kapow! 2012. The cover art by Adam Hughes is vibrant and the art inside by Syaf is detailed and soaked in emotion. Arreola’s colours vary to distinguish between the present and the past, facilitating the narrative well.
Gail Simone’s really given us our money’s worth in this issue. It teases, shocks and delights. Really, the issues she explored could have been dragged out a bit, but I reckon that given the hype over this book, and the criticism by some over Barbara’s miraculous recovery from paralysis, Simone had something to prove.
The finer details of that miraculous recovery are not revealed and, for the time being, we’re treated to the events and the innermost thoughts troubling Barbara right now. There’s plenty of time for the past in the future. Simone shares with us so much of Barbara’ personality, strength and wit.
I’d never read any stories with Barbara as Batgirl before, but I was a fan of Birds of Prey pre-Flashpoint, also penned by Simone, and Barbara, as Oracle, was equally strong and haunted. There’s real consistency here. I liked Stephanie Brown, the last Batgirl, for her girlish charm and understandable self-doubt. The Bat name is, after all, not an easy one to live up to. Oracle, in contrast, slips into the Bat costume with ease but her fear and vulnerability comes instead as a result of age and experience. While the issue is full of action, the climax and cliffhanger is a personal, emotional one.
The supporting cast is well-crafted and developed substantially on just a few pages. There are several baddies, all chilling, a new activist flatmate and, of course, daddy-dearest Commissioner Gordon.
Lastly, I can’t not comment that Simone is one of the relatively few successful, female writers for DC. Whether consciously or not, she’s setting precedent in the new DCU and, male or female, the others will have a hard time living up to her work on this little but important book.
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