Graphic Novel Reviews: Batgirl 001-007

Well, this is kind of awkward. I posted my review of issue eight, thinking that I already reviewed the first seven issues. Guess I reviewed every series but this one. My bad. Let me fix that.

One of the major topics of conversation surrounding the New 52 was the reinstating of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. Anyone only familiar with the animated series probably wouldn’t even be aware that Barbara stopped being Batgirl (though I really doubt it, I’m practically a comics virgin and I still knew there’ve been several Batgirls, don’t ask me for the exact number I can’t be bothered to look it up). But those that have more than a passing knowledge of the comics know that for the past few years Barbara was one of comics’ only paraplegic characters who remained active across several different books. As Oracle she provided technological backup for several members of the Bat Family and the Birds of Prey.

So bringing her back as Batgirl was an interesting move on DC’s part. Giving her back the ability to walk may be a mercy to the character, but at the same time it was robbing comics of one of the few paraplegic characters we were meant to admire, not pity.

Fortunately writer Gail Simone manages to address those issues by making the book fun to read. We get to follow Barbara as she moves on with her life, moves into a new appartment, and starts her life as a superhero again. She still has some issues concerning the experience that put her in a wheelchair, but she slowly works her way through them. Simone makes the story as much a character driven piece, as well as a superhero story. Barbara has to prove not only to herself, but to her readers as well, that she isn’t just a hero, she’s a superhero.

Towards this end Simone moves fairly quickly through villains, going through two villains, and introducing a third, in the amount of time other series devote to a single storyline. The fast pace works well to reintroduce readers to Barbara as Batgirl, rather than going into a long storyline right off the bat. By issue seven I think we are ready to get into a longer story, which works just well because issue nine will be joining up with the Court of Owls storyline. Though I fully expect to see Barbara involved in a longer arc of her own. We’ve had the introductory period, and Barbara has not disappointed as Batgirl. It’s time to let her stretch her wings and hold her own against the heavy hitters of the Batman lineup.

Also, the shipper in me expects Dick to make a few appearances. I let him out to ship American comic characters because everyone knows nothing ever comes of that, so he’ll just end up getting burned. I do not like my inner shipper.

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