Batgirl 35 Review

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Posted October 9, 2014 by Henry Varona in Comic Books

Written by: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher

Art by: Babs Tarr

Publisher: DC Comics

When DC Comics rebooted their line of titles three years ago, Barbara Gordon returned to the mantle of Batgirl after a number of years as Oracle. The change was jarring for many, and had it not been for the guiding hand of Gail Simone, it is doubtful that the transition would have been successful.  All things must come to an end though, and Simone has left the title to a brand new and very different creative team. Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher take over the title with Babs Tarr on art, and it immediately feels unlike anything Simone ever published. Light and fun, the book feels like it belong alongside titles like Kieron Gillen’s Young Avengers and the new Teen Titans series. Much more contemporary than many will be prepared for, it’s a Batgirl for a new generation and exactly what the title needed.

The issue begins with Barbara moving into her new apartment in Burnside. But no sooner does she settle in than a night of partying leads to a series of thefts, including her very own computer. With the very impatient Black Canary chiming in her ear, Barbara embarks on a journey that leads her towards a new look and a new foe. Can Barbara outsmart and defeat a man whose very mind is a computer? Come on, she’s Batgirl. Was there ever any doubt?

Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher write the best Batgirl I’ve read since Bryan Q. Miller’s run with Stephanie Brown. I love Gail Simone, but I was never sold on her Batgirl series. I think that a big part of that (To me) is that Simone seemed to be writing a book she didn’t want to because she didn’t trust anybody else with it. Stewart and Fletcher immediately throw the rulebook out the window with this issue. The book utilizes the comic book medium in a way no other medium can, integrating text messages, emails, photographic memory, and montages seamlessly. In addition, Barbara’s voice feels fresh. While some may see her as “dumbed-down”, this isn’t the case, as she is shown to be very capable and smart, but also willing to be young and make mistakes. It’s easy for people to see the life of somebody trying to have fun as somebody who isn’t responsible, but that isn’t the case her. Barbara is a strong, independent woman, but she isn’t perfect. For the first time in my life, I am enjoying a Barbara Gordon title, and it’s because of this vulnerability.

Babs Tarr has only created a single comic before this, but man, the way she works the page you’d think this had been her whole life. Babs Tarr utilizes every inch of every page incredibly well. She has a style that is very appealing to a modern audience (Looking at you Tumblr), but still holds it’s own during action sequences. The way she draws Barbara feels natural and authentic. Her attention to detail goes leagues beyond many others right now, as she designs real people, not simple figures. Tattoos, interesting outfits, and distinct faces litter the pages. As somebody who grew up in Brooklyn and has been witness to many characters similar to Barbara’s supporting cast, I can happily say that she properly represents the new crowd. Oh, and did I mention her design? Yeah, it’s flawless. Actually flawless. I could fawn over it for days, but plenty of others already have. If you don’t love this look, we can’t be friends. Full stop.

Overall, the new Batgirl feels like the freshest comic the New 52 has produced in three years. I don’t know if I’d say it’s the best, but it’s willingness to take risks is crucial to DC Comics, a company that has been playing it safe while calling themselves edgy. For the first time in my life I am looking forward to a Barbara Gordon comic, and for the first time in years I made sure to go out of my way to track down Batgirl. Do yourself a favor and give this book a shot.


About the Author

Henry Varona

Lover of comics, Legos, and movies, Henry Varona is supremely awesome in every way. He spends his days designing his own comics, and his nights dreaming about Chris Hemsworth and Captain Cold.