Review: Batgirl #1

Published on September 13th, 2011

I am probably going to make a lot of enemies here, but I never really cared for the original Batgirl. I really enjoyed the Stephanie Brown run that just ended, but my Batgirl was always Cassandra Cain. I understand that Barbara Gordon was always the first and the fan favorite, but she was never really my cup of tea. I, however, am a HUGE fan of Oracle.

batgirl1It’s like the second the Joker’s bullet shattered Barbara’s spine, she became an interesting character. It might have been harsh, but that was how I felt. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled when I heard that Barbara Gordon was walking again and that she was the new Batgirl. To me, that meant two things: 1.No more Stephanie Brown. 2.No more Oracle. Both things do not make a happy Susan. The saving grace was the announcement that Gail Simone was the writer on this title.

Batgirl #1 was not what I wanted or expected. I am a huge fan of Ms. Simone and her writing. That is the only thing that kept me from actually setting the issue on fire. Comics are the union of story and artwork. To me, they should complement one another, making each part seem better because of the union. This book did the opposite. The art was cheesy and basic, which amplified the flaws in the story. I normally would buy the miracle explanation, but the throwaway narration superimposed on the ridiculous sad morning coffee scene caused me to audibly scoff at the page. She can walk just because she can? Ok, fine. I understand that is a technique used in story telling all the time, but it never seems as blatant as this. I blame the art. I really do. It heightened my awareness that I was reading a backpedalling excuse, rather than a plot point. I was not lost in the moment with Batgirl, which I had been with previous incarnations of the series. That was upsetting.

I would like to take this moment to praise Gail Simone once again. She made this book bearable for me. I got to the end only for her. I wanted to give Ms. Simone’s new title at least one chance. Batgirl suffered from distracting art and a terrible character resurrection, neither of which I blame on the style of writing. After the beautiful sendoff that DC gave Stephanie Brown, I expected an equally lovely takeover of Barbara Gordon as the new Batgirl. I did not get that. Because of my level of disappointment, I might not even pick up the second issue.

Susan Damon