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52apolooza: Batgirl

Batgirl 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 (Twitter)

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.

bg2Sure, 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.

bg4Over 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
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About the Author - Christian Hoffer


Christian Hoffer is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Hoffer is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.

 


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