Sam Quixote's Reviews > Batgirl, Volume 1: The Darkest Reflection

Batgirl, Volume 1 by Gail Simone
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's review
Aug 26, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl! As most people know, her character was shot in the spine and crippled by the Joker in Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke” and for years afterwards was in a wheelchair, becoming Batman’s tech support as Oracle. With the New 52 relaunch last year, she was controversially taken out of the wheelchair to become Batgirl once again. Interestingly, the events of the “Killing Joke” still happened but 3 years of physiotherapy and pioneering surgery has taken Barbara from the wheelchair back onto her feet. Mentally though she’s forever scarred and she’s still not 100% physically fit and this book re-introduces her character for a new audience to get to know her.

Barbara is the best thing about the book. Getting to know her character, seeing her back in action as Batgirl, it’s all handled superbly by Gail Simone who gives Barbara a genuine voice and depth. In a city like Gotham where Batman has such a firm grasp of the city, it’s cool to see Batgirl carving out a niche for herself as another caped crusader while navigating the complexities of her own personal life.

That said, the book is let down by sub-par villains. The first is called “Mirror”, a former army guy whose family died in a blazing car fire which he somehow survived. The incident snapped his mind leading him to somehow take revenge on anyone who’d miraculously survived a terrible event. It’s not the most logical route to becoming a villain is it? I mean, if he was that distraught, wouldn’t he just kill himself? Putting on an elaborate mirrored costume and enacting the “Final Destination” films is just too much of a stretch. The second is a villain who got her psychic powers over men after being shot in the head and surviving. Really?

Anyway, the book is still a great read with enough going on to distract from the hows and whys of these oddball villains showing up - just tell yourself it’s Gotham City, the home of the performance artist villain. I’m conflicted over the decision to take Barbara out of the wheelchair as it seems a bit of a cynical decision (and what was wrong with Stephanie Brown anyway?) but Gail Simone’s written a fantastic book that gives Barbara Gordon/Batgirl an energetic and fun re-awakening.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Mike Heh, "performance artist villain" - I like that line. Hope I can remember to properly attribute it if I re-use it sometime.

message 2: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam Quixote I heard Paul Dini use it in an interview on a Kevin Smith podcast earlier this year. "Fatman on Batman" #1 if you're interested.

Anne Dead-on about the villains. Gah. Stupid.

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