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Old September 10 2011, 02:29 PM   #333
Allyn Gibson
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Re: DC's New 52: Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers welcolme and likely)

Batgirl.

I wasn't wowed by it. For a Batgirl book, it was surprisingly grim with a high body count. (Two people get murdered, and two more people are almost murdered. In the span of twenty pages, no less.) Gail Simone's writing was merely average, and it suffered from the Eric Saward problem (in his Doctor Who scripts, he had a tendency to introduce major characters and then never ever name them -- for instance, I don't think we ever learn the name of Barbara's roomie in Batgirl #1).

In a lot of ways, I think this was the book of the New 52 that had the most to prove -- it had to follow the Bryan Q. Miller run (which I loved), and it had to justify undoing twenty-plus years of the Barbara Gordon status quo. And it doesn't do either. Miller's Batgirl was the "fun" Bat-book, and there's no fun here. (Maybe Barbara meeting her roomie, but that has the Saward problem. Also, it doesn't make much sense if Barbara had a life as Oracle; whatever happened to her base of operations?) And as for the past, it's all glossed over. (There's a one page flashback to The Killing Joke and its important detail insofar as Barbara is concerned; otherwise, it's limited to a line of dialogue that goes, basically, "And then a miracle happened.")

For a book like this, the best thing to do would be to start in the middle of the action (which it does) and establish a tone (which it also does), so in that sense Batgirl #1 works. It when you think about it in the larger context that it falls down.

Based on the first issue, I don't know what this book wants to be. If it's going to be a somewhat grim comic about a redheaded female Bat in Gotham, I don't see why this Batgirl needs to exist -- Batwoman fills the same niche and is bound to be the better written and more artistically interesting book. But I should be fair -- I didn't like Miller's Batgirl off the bat, either; it took until about issue #3 for its tone and premise to establish themselves and for me to really "get" the book.

If you have no connection to the previous Batgirls, if you've only ever known Barbara Gordon as Batgirl (thanks to Adam West reruns or the Batman animated series), this book is probably fine, if a little dark.
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