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Review: Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside TPB

Written by GLX on Sunday, April 30 2017 and posted in Reviews

Review: Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside TPB

GLX shares some thoughts on Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside TPB.

Publisher - DC Comics

Writer - Hope Larson

Artist - Rafael Albuquerque

Colorist - Dave McCaig

Letterer - Deron Bennett


Back when Barbara Gordon became Batgirl in the New 52 era of DC Comics, I wasn't impressed with her main series. It didn't really grab me until Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr took over. They made Batgirl's world more vibrant and unique, instead of grim and dull. Hope Larson and Rafael Albuquerque follow up the work of those they came before them by taking Batgirl away from the States on a trip to Japan. While not an excellent read, Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside does have some cool elements.

One thing that Larson conveys well is Batgirl's intelligence. It's not uncommon to see her use her smarts to figure out problems, but Batgirl's solutions to her various problems were cool to see in action. Larson also does a fine job of making Kai, and Fruit Bat interesting characters. The former's strength as a character is tied into his own failings, while the latter shines in the differences between her civilian life and her alter-ego. It's also refreshing to read a Bat family tale that's not based in Gotham or another town that houses well-known characters.

The main issue with the writing falls upon the villains. They're not necessarily bad antagonists, but they fail to be memorable. Their motivations aren't gripping, and their personalities lack a certain edge. When the plot threads have been taken care of, the villains' absence doesn't demand for a future return.

Albuquerque's art is the highlight of the trade. There's a lively flow to his work, especially in the facial expressions. His characters elevate the writing through their liveliness. Layouts are clear and effective, while not being afraid to be bold at certain scenes. Dave McCaig's colors back up Albuquerque's art wonderfully with appropriate color choices. The tenderness of one daylight scene is strengthened by warm yellows. Other scenes contrast the purple and yellows of Batgirl's costume with the dreariness of her environment very well. The emotion on the page is tangible without making the locations feel inconsistent.

Deron Bennett's lettering is sharp and clean. Sound effects are placed effectively on the page, and carry a little personality to subtly enhance the reading experience. One part of Bennett's lettering that really sticks out is handling of dialogue that's spoken in another language, but is in English for the reader. An average comic might handle that by putting the text in less than and greater than signs. Bennett bypasses that by putting a few characters from the language at the edge of a word balloon, but away from the tail. He also uses specific font colors to differentiate between languages. The end result is a less cluttered page that gives the art more room to breathe.

Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside is a flawed, but enjoyable work. Fans of Batgirl shouldn't worry about the direction of the series veering too far from the previous run. It respects what came before, while blazing its own trail. I can't recommend it as something to buy on sight, but it's at least worth a look. There's enough in the pages to stand out from the crowd.


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About the Author - GLX

For years, GLX has been writing on-and-off for The Outhousers about comics, video games, and other stuff. He currently resides in The South. You can catch him in the forums or @glxwriter on Twitter.



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