Thursday, July 19, 2012

Batgirl #11 - A Review

Last week, I happened across an article which rated which characters had been the best and worst served by the New 52 Reboot. I was astonished to find that the author had put Batgirl on the list of the worst served.

Worst served than Catwoman? Worst served than Starfire? According to this author, yes.

"The book that makes no one happy. We went from goofy Barbara Gordon as '60s Batgirl to mega-competent Oracle then back to goofy Barbara Gordon as New 52 Batgirl who apparently forgot what it was like to be mega-competent Oracle. I'll even suspend judgment on the whole "getting-out-of-the-wheelchair" thing because, you know, comic books. But the aloof Batgirl just doesn't cut it once we've seen Barbara Gordon absolutely rule everything thrown at her back in the old DCU."

Wrapping my brain around this, a thought occurred to me. He must not have read the book since the first issue! Yes, that issue was a little heavier on the humor than usual. Yes, that issue did end with Barbara Gordon freezing up at gun-point and a cop dying as a result. And yes, Barbara has been spending some time - no pun intended - finding her feet since then.

But to say that Barabra Gordon has been completely goofy? To say that she's no longer mega-competent? To say that there's no bit of the woman who was Oracle left? There's no way he's been reading the same comic I've been reading for the last year! And this last issue proved it.

In the opening battle scene, Barbara holds her own against three metahumans for several minutes. She does eventually get brought to heel, but it's through no fault of her own. Later on, Barbara shows that she's still a genius when it comes to computers and that she's every bit Batman's equal as a detective, deducing from a few things in a woman's apartment that there's far more to the cop with a vendetta against her than meets the eye.

Praising the art of Adrian Syaf may be too-little, too-late as former Birds of Prey artist Ed Benes is poised to take over the art on this series with Issue #13. Still, Syaf is a talented artist whose work I have enjoyed immensely over the past year. Hopefully he'll find a new monthly gig elsewhere at DC Comics in the coming months.

If you're a Birds of Prey fan who has been reluctant to give this title a shot or was turned off by the first issue, come back. The Barbara Gordon you loved hasn't gone anywhere. Indeed, she's waiting for you to discover her again.

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