Title: Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside
Author: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr
Publication Date: May 27, 2015
Publisher: DC Comics
Genre: Comics/Graphic Novels
Find It: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Book Depository
Rating: 3 stars – stick to your bedtime
Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes, so when a fire destroys everything she owns, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life – and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham City’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl…and discovers new threats preying on her peers! As the new hero of Burnside, Batgirl gets started by facing twin sister assassins on motorcycles! Collects BATGIRL #35-40.
DC rebooted the Batgirl franchise not too long ago with their New 52 rollout. The run, written by Gail Simone, was an intimate look at Barbara Gordon and her recovery after having been wheelchair bound for years. It dealt with both her mental and physical recovery and was applauded by many as an honest portrayal of PTSD. As you can imagine, the tone and topics of the book were quite dark and DC recently decided to reboot the franchise yet again with a new writing and artist team, hoping to give Batgirl a younger, hipper vibe.
Barbara (or Babs) loses all of her belongings in a fire and moves across the river to a new apartment with new roommates to focus on her thesis project at a local college. She runs into some trouble though when she’s targeted for attacks and a mysterious person starts sending her messages signed as “Batgirl.” In addition to dealing with super villains, Babs must also deal with new friends, dating, her academic work and how to navigate the world of social media.
I definitely think that writers Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr were successful in bringing out a younger, more carefree Batgirl. While she hasn’t completely moved on from her past, she is definitely trying to move forward with her life. While I enjoyed seeing her deal with some of the more typical problems for a woman her age, it did feel a little juvenile at times. I did not find the villains particularly scary and the over emphasis on social media started to grate on me after a while. I get that social media would play a big part of trying to be a masked superhero in today’s world but it felt like overkill.
The art definitely complimented the new tone of the book with really bright colors and a bold, dynamic style. The new costume is hip but still looks very functional. At times, some of the panels felt a bit cramped with the dialogue, but overall I really like Tarr’s style.
I am not sure how I feel about this new Babs yet. I am glad that Batgirl is coming out from her shell and having more fun but I am not sold on the tone of this book just yet. I will probably read volume 2 to see how the character develops.