RETCONNED AND OUT OF THE CHAIR
Gail Simone tackles the relaunch of Barbara Gordon into the new DC Universe with a “girl’s rule” attitude that has been lacking from comics. Batgirl starts her new adventure already out of the wheel chair, but it shows that the history of the popular Alan Moore story The Killing Joke still applies as she was at one point crippled. There still isn’t any indication of how she started walking again, but it states that it’s been three years since she was shot. The artwork for the issue, done by Ardian Syaf, was crisp and clean, and was a solid introduction to the look and feel of Batgirl. There were one or two panels that I thought were really great, and one or two that I thought were so-so, but on the whole I was pleased.
The biggest problem with this new DC Universe is that the time frames have all been skewed. To the point where I’m not even going to attempt to figure out when things happened and how they fit in. I’m just glad that Simone decided to expand upon Barbara instead of trying to completely re-invent her. That doesn’t mean that she hasn’t put her own spin on the masked avenger. Simone’s Batgirl has some very deep psychological issues that she’s working through, especially the fact that now that she’s out of the chair she’s constantly threatened with the idea of being back in one.
The villain for this issue, the mysterious Mirror, is a throwback to old-fashioned Batman mysteries and is one of the better antagonists of the current first issues. He casts judgment on people who should have died at different points in their lives but somehow survived. This is a great villain for Batgirl, who by all means shouldn’t be up walking around let alone fighting crime on top of rooftops.
I’ve had a hard time judging how good or how bad something is without telling people how many stars or thumbs I’d give it. So I’m going to go with a 1 – 5 rating system from now on with any decimals in between. I’d give this first issue a solid 4.0. It’s a great introduction to a character that can really inspire people to rethink the way that women are represented in comics. Barbara is a tough as nails and intelligent girl, but she’s by no means an over-sexed goddess. And to be honest, I prefer my women, even the fictional ones, to have actual character.