was the source of a lot of controversy earlier this summer. How does it deliver? Find out in our 52apolooza Review!
Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch. All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.Batgirl
, written by Gail Simone and illustrated by Ardian Syaf, was the source of a little consternation when it was discovered who'd be under the cowl this September. Simone made a valiant effort diffusing the situation, but ultimately the book will only survive if her writing stands up. Does it? Check out the reviews below!
Unaffiliated Reviewer: David Dean
I picked up this book for one reason—Gail Simone. She's one of the best writers working today. Everything she puts out has been worth my time and money.
For the DC 52 book relaunch, Simone has been put in charge of Batgirl
and, more importantly perhaps, the return of Barbara Gordon to the role of Batgirl.
I haven't been following the exploits of Barbara Gordon over the years, I admit. But I can tell you that this book was very accessible to me and thus to anyone else that's new to the character.
Sure, I remember this character from the old Adam West television show. Everyone that likes Batman has read Alan Moore's The Killing Joke
(suggested reading). Everyone knows that she lost the use of her legs in this story. Wheelchair-bound, she became a technology genius, adopted the codename "Oracle," and became a hero for every physically handicap comic lover in the world. Other than that, and seeing her from time to time showing up in a different series here and there, or a soon-to-be canceled tv show, I honestly don't know much about the character.
Oracle is no more. Fans of the character have been up in arms for months now with the fact that DC ended their twenty-year love affair with a character without much acknowledgement of the character's impact on the community she represented.
The only thing I can tell Oracle fans—which is what I tell myself to assure myself that everything will turn out fine—is that those stories we know and love are still there. New and better stories are always down the road.
Over the years, Batgirl's persona and Barbara Gordon's character uncoupled. Batgirl lived on through different characters while Barbara Gordon pursued her crime fighting from a chair.
That's the extent of my knowledge.
In Batgirl #1
, released this week, most of that history has been compacted into a three-year period. Barbara has just regained the use of her legs. Now THE Batgirl is back!
I love the art, costume, the character voice, and, more importantly, the story so far.
The story was darker than expected. [SPOILERS AHEAD] It starts off with a mysterious serial killer named "The Mirror" marking names off a list. He murders someone for, what we are lead to believe is, justice or setting right what once went wrong. The people he's taking out appear to be bad people. Then we learn that Barbara Gordon's name is at the bottom of that list. This made me sit up in my chair. I'm hooked and that's only the first two pages.
The subsequent scene begins with different masked killers terrorizing a family--soon to be rescued by our masked hero who doubts her rusty abilities. Batgirl made some choices here that, frankly, surprised me. This character has depth and I'm sold on this arc's trajectory.
Finally, the issue closes with the first two elements coming together in an unexpected way. Barbara Gordon deals with the nightmare she's been living with since The Killing Joke
, setting up for an amazing cliffhanger. Really this issue packed in a lot of story into a very small space.
If the series holds up with what this issue delivered, years from now, I guarantee this will be one of the 52 relaunch success stories people will be pointing to justify the entire universe's reboot. In any event, this series will be either loved or reviled over the coming months and years. There will be no middle ground for this book. It's worth watching and deserves an opportunity to succeed.
This issue is filled with action, intrigue, mystery, humor and excitement. Worth your time to pick up. Looking forward to the next issue.Score: 80/100
DC Reviewer: Mister Grumbles
It has been just three years since the Joker rang Barbara Gordon's doorbell. Let that sink in for a minute. This series is about Barbara Gordon, not Oracle. Come to terms with it. Okay, now go buy this book.
Gail Simone has crafted a brand new version of Barbara Gordon. This may be off-putting to long time Oracle fans who aren't used to such a "fresh" and optimistic take on the character, but if they can overcome the initial shock, fans will find themselves even more pleasantly rewarded than new readers. Barbara may be younger and more hopeful but she is also deeply scarred. This juxtaposition makes for a fascinating character. Gail Simone undoubtedly has a unique vision of the character. This is not Oracle, but this is also not Stephanie Brown with red hair. I won't give away any details, but suffice it to say that this Batgirl will have a journey unlike any DC hero in the past seventeen years. Her natural fears and hesitations temper her optimism, but they don't weaken her. Instead she's bound to become stronger for having to overcome them. And we get to go along for the ride.
The art and coloring is perfect for balancing the grit of Gotham with the optimism of Batgirl. It also conveys the action quite well. The issue is very well paced. It doesn't waste time but doesn't rush the action either. There is more than enough story here to be satisfying as a single issue, but the lead in for the overall arc left me wanting more Batgirl and more Barbara.
Score: 70/100 (80/100 for New Readers)
Marvel Reviewer: SuperginraiX
Who knew this book would be so controversial?
Well, everyone. In fact, the reason I decided to pick it up was because everyone was complaining about it. You know that in cases like that, you're either going to get solid gold or complete dreck. Fortunately for me, I tend to like things when others can't stop complaining about them, so this book became one of the titles I was really looking forward to.
And I'll be honest, I don't have a dog in this race. My first exposure to Batgirl was in reruns of the 1960's Batman show and all I can remember is that she was pretty damn hot to teenage me. My next exposure was probably The Killing Joke. A friend gave it to me to read, claiming it was one of those must-read books. That was almost fifteen years ago but, truth to tell, I wasn't a big fan. Maybe I'd change my opinion if I read it THIS decade. My tastes have changed.
So I've known who Barbara Gordon was and I even have an issue or two of Birds of Prey, depending on how many times that book crossed over with Nightwing. I also remember when she was coordinating the JLA. Big time stuff. Batgirl went on to be a bunch of other people to varying success but I mostly tuned it out as it didn't really interest me.
So, naturally, this book did.
And it's good! Surprise, surprise!
Great art by Ardian Syaf. A nice looking Batgirl suit. I think the vague details they gave for why Barbara is still walking are more than enough to get the ball rolling and anyone who thinks someone who just got the use of their legs back after three years would want to sit down for one second longer is just talking crazy. The fact that she's not up to optimum levels also fits the backstory.
That being said, there are some snafus. Some of the plot is a little hokey, like when the big bad points a gun at Barbara's stomach and she comments about how it's pointing right at her spine. A little... off, I guess. Naturally, it's in a scene that evokes Joker shooting her in the same position (referenced a couple times in the book itself if you've never read The Killing Joke or need a refresher) so even with the wierd dialogue, we know why she's spooked and understand it completely. The ending is also slightly baffling with the cop looking to point her weapon at the hero instead of the villain but I'm giving benefit of the doubt on that one until next issue.
While this series is destined to be polarizing... forever, if you're not deadset on keeping a girl in a wheelchair doing super-hero customer service for the rest of her life, you might like the new, old Batgirl.
New Reader Reviewer: Tricia Long
Alright, finally, I get to read about a girl kicking ass. Male readers usually don't understand how awful it is to see a cartoon representative of your gender frequently relegated to the role of the girlfriend or villainous vixen– wimpy or slutty, depending on the role – and not in the "I kick so much ass" category. This incarnation of Batgirl, played by the once wheelchair-bound Barbara Gordon, is fully aware of how much ass she kicks. In fact, she says so explicitly in a few panels, which was a bit meta/obvious but fun enough that it didn't bother me.
Characterization was the focus of this first issue. It's a good jumping on point, and even goes into Barbara's injured past. DC might have rebooted their entire universe, but you can never forget she was in a wheelchair – it's like 9/11. I thought it was clever to make that traumatic experience serve the plot as well, since an injury that life-changing is bound to affect Batgirl's desire for danger. I won't spoil the ending, but I thought it was some of the strongest writing I've seen in a comic to date. Bonus points for including Commissioner Gordon in a sweet leaving-home sequence. He would be the best dad to have if you had to live somewhere as messed up as Gotham.
I really enjoyed this issue, for the central female protagonist as well as the storyline. I'm definitely looking forward to Batgirl #2!
Final 52apolooza Score: 317 (Average Score: 79.25)
Written or Contributed by: David Dean, Mister Grumbles, SuperginraiX and Tricia Longhttp://188.8.131.52/index.php/reviews/comics-reviews/52apalooza/15605-52apolooza-batgirl.html/