Barbara Gordon’s ready for a fresh start. She’s packing her bags, crossing the bridge, and heading to Gotham’s coolest neighborhood: Burnside. And when a freak fire burns up her costume and gear, Babs has the chance to become a whole new Batgirl!
But she barely slips on her new DIY costume before Batgirl starts trending as Gotham’s first viral vigilante — and attracting a new wave of enemies who want her social-media spotlight for themselves. Meanwhile, the girl beneath the gear’s got a whole new crew of friends, college classes that are kicking her Bat-butt and a dating scene that can make anyone want to swipe left on life.
This bat’s done living in the shadows. But will the bright lights of Burnside burn her for good?
Collects: Batgirl #35-40 and a story from Secret Origins #10.
I was crazy excited to read this, and Barbara Gordon is one of my favorite DC characters, so to say I'm massively disappointed right now would be an understatement. What. A. Letdown. I'm not sure what Fletcher was going for here, but it felt like it was for children. Except not. It's got too many adult situations in it to be a comic for kids. In the first issue alone, Babs gets drunk, can't remember that she was all over some guy the night before, and pukes some hangover juice into a trash can after taking out a thief. The language isn't suitable for the younger set either. Well, it's not like she's calling other chicks cunts, but words like asshole & damn are peppered into the dialogue.
So, not for the little kiddies. Big Deal, right? Except the story itself felt like it was geared towards tiny people. The villains were so lame. So, so lame. Like, Moral of the Story lame. Don't bite your friends, kids! Hyuck, Hyuck!
Everyone who just got the Yo Gabba Gabba reference is entitled to a nap and some animal crackers. Everyone else? Count your blessings, and remember your birth control.
Here's a rundown of the baddies Babs fights over the course of this volume. A guy that blackmails people using social media.
Cosplayers who are waaay too into an old anime cartoon.
An insane artist who wants to 'impersonate' Batgirl.
A reality tv star who gets drunk and goes drag racing on the street.
And my personal favorite: A computer algorithm that Batgirl defeats by channeling Matthew Broderick.
The worst part? All of those untrained dorks gave her a run for her money. What the actual fuck, Mr. Fletcher?! That losers like that could get the jump on Barbara Gordon can only mean one thing. She's starring in a children's comic book, and you need to keep the bad guys toned down to a level that isn't frightening.
Black Canary is in this as the 'adult' figure. Well, to keep with the WhatTheFuckAreYouThinking theme, Dinah is an unlikable bitch. Because adults are unapproachable, mean-spirited, unforgiving, and judgmental. Duh.
Oh, and she's in a band now. Because all of her stuff caught on fire, and between the album & the tour this will be a great way for the kick-ass crime fighter to get back on her feet! Josie? Are all of the Pussycats going on tour with you?!
The art is fantastic, and the high point of the whole thing. Honestly, I'd buy this just to look at the pictures. I just wish there'd been a better story to go them. I don't like this new inept, pouting Batgirl, but maybe she'll be a huge hit with everyone else.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital arc.
I don't get it. I really don't get this book at all. I don't get why this just seems like the dumbed down version of Batgirl. The tone and the villains kind of feel like a kids' comic, but the actual content isn't entirely kid appropriate. Which makes the whole book feel kind of weird, almost like they were reaching for all ages and totally missed. And since I don't think that was the intention, it just feels weird.
Part of that vaguely "all ages" feel is because of the way Babs is written, yet another baffling thing about this book. Above all else, this Babs feels significantly younger than the way Simone had been writing her. She doesn't feel any more mature than the teenage Babs in that Zero Year comic Simone wrote not that long ago. It's almost like reading a version of Batgirl from sometime before The Killing Joke, at least. And eidetic memory aside, she just doesn't seem to be very smart. There's the fact that she apparently never backed up her thesis, which is just astounding to me. But she doesn't trust the Cloud! As if that's a valid excuse. Plus her weird foray into social media because... I don't know, she just does, ok? And then there's the unconvincing villains who shouldn't pose a threat to her at all, and yet do. This just doesn't feel like the Babs I know and love, and that makes me sad.
That's kind of a shame, because I really do like the art. I actually really like the new design for Batgirl's costume, and the art is consistent and consistently good from one issue to the next. I also kind of liked the way Barbara's eidetic memory was demonstrated on the page. That much was kind of cool. But I just really didn't care for this book overall. And I was really kind of looking forward to it, too.
From what I can see, there are a lot of people (at least on the first page of reviews) that have read this book and not enjoyed it. I'm definitely not one of those people. Yes, this book is a huge departure from what's gone before, but it respects everything Barbara has been through and uses her continuity to tell its own story, and it's a massively different book to any other Bat-Book on the stands at the moment.
As Barbara moves across the river to the Burnside district of Gotham (hence the title), she basically starts a new life, with new friends, although her old ones are still around, and a brand new costume when hers is destroyed in a fire. Yes, there are a few teething problems, like the random disappearance of her current boyfriend Ricky, and the rift that builds between Babs and Dinah, but for the most part, this is a clean break from what went before and establishes itself very quickly.
It feels like a book that's very in touch with the people that it is aimed at - Babs feels like a typical late teens/early twenties hero, and the aesthetic of the book and the modernization of the storytelling through the use of more technologies and more modern villains and themes makes for a very different book than before. Yes, it's not going to be for everyone, but I feel that an adventurous new take like this is always going to be divisive.
Each issue is a self contained story with a common theme running through it which is resolved in the final two issues of the trade; it feels like a complete adventure, and easy to give to new readers so that they don't feel that they need to read extra books to make sense of what's going on. Each issue is varied and focuses on different villains and problems for Barbara whilst establishing her world through the relationships she forges.
The artwork by Babs Tarr over breakdowns from the legendary Cameron Stewart is fantastic and truly suits the tone of the book. Each page is packed with detail, and it really feels chunky and worth devoting lots of time to each page. It's amazing that the artists are able to draw all 6 issues of this trade, because usually artists take fill-ins after a few issues and with the level of detail on these pages, I'd have expected at least one. Yes, the 10 page story from Secret Origins is a different artist, but it's also a different book, so we'll let that one slide.
This book, as I've said, isn't for everyone, but it's a breathe of fresh air for the Bat-Line of titles and one that I was truly looking forward to reading, and wasn't disappointed with. Long live the Batgirl of Burnside!
This book was basically the HBO show Girls with Hannah dressing up as Batgirl. To say I hated this book is an understatement. But then again, I'm not a 15 year old girl which is obviously the intended audience. I can only deal with so many self-absorbed characters in my comics, let alone real-life. I felt like I was reading about people I've worked with at startups.
Okay... not sure how to phrase this but if you have never read a Batgirl comic before this series, you will probably enjoy this. If you've read quite a bit of Barbara Gordon's previous features, you will probably hate this. Unless you're better at compartmentalizing than I am because nothing about this felt like Barbara Gordon.
I have a problem with the trend of smarmy, snarky female characters in comics. Some began that way like Kate Bishop and I love her because that's the way she was written from the get go. However, lately I feel like male writers keep creating the same clone of the "Cool Girl" image and we get 500 different versions of this character type meant to appeal to both millennials and to men who will want to get with them. (Not that ladies don't want to get with them, as well. (Kate, if you're reading this, call me).) It was done to Jessica Drew, for example.
So, I preface my review with that to explain that I understand who this book is meant to appeal to. It came at an odd time because New 52 had been going for a while and we already had Gail's New 52 book before hand. I adore the way Gail writes Babs. She's partially responsible for my love of the character. When DC took Babs out of the chair and I still read Gail's run because she writes a Babs I believe in. Barbara Gordon is smart, confident, mature and capable. That's who's she's always been in the books I've read.
This Babs is better suited for a CW television series about the struggles of fighting crimes and getting Instagram followers. Literally, that's a plot from this book. She talks like a teenager, she worries about things a teenager would worry about and this book is so colorful that it felt like a Bryan Lee O'Malley book. And all of this would have been fine with me if the main character was not called Barbara Gordon. If they'd introduced a brand new character and made her Batgirl, that would have been fine with me.
But they didn't. They called this character Babs and gave her Babs' history. So, I have to look at this book and line it up with other iterations of Babs and it doesn't hold up. This book is quite shallow. The plots don't last long and Babs doesn't seem very capable of anything. She's constantly asking other people to drop what's going on in their lives to help her. She doesn't seem able to make anything for herself except her costume which is also very geared towards millennials. Her thesis is supposed to be quite important to her yet we never see her really working on it ever.
The few things I will give this book credit for: - passes the Bechdel test - more than one other female character exists in a significant role - it is diverse and features a disabled character who occasionally needs leg braces. That's not something I've ever seen before. - the art is beautiful!
I will say, I was 10x more interested in Frankie and Dinah and if Frankie had been in Dinah's book, I would've dropped this one to read that one in a heartbeat.
So, at the end of the day, I ask myself if it's fair to rate this.
If this was a book about some random character called, oh, I don't know, Jessica or something, I would be less harsh on this.
But, this is supposed to be Barbara Gordon; one of DC's beloved characters, Barbara Gordon and so I must consider what I know about the character.
This is not a recommend unless you've never read a Barbara Gordon book in your life.
"Speaking of asses, dirtbag, yours is about to be totally kicked."
I was not feeling this one too much.
Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) has just moved to Burnside. Other notable characters: Dinah (Black Canary) and Frankie (Batgirl's roomie).
This is very technology focused. First, Batgirl must deal with a scumbag who has *checks notes* "cybernetic flash memory implants" or some shit. Anyway, he gets his jollies off on stealing people's personal information which is embarrassing and posting it online. For kicks. But this didn't really ring true for me. For example, at one point he encourages people to dance by promising to post pictures of (specific name) in the hospital. And he talks about how the pictures are gross and embarrassing to (specific name).
WTF? I understand scandal and gossip, but that really only works for celebrities. And even then, I mean, hospital pictures? I understand that they are trying to say "This guy has no morals" but who the heck would want to go online and look at some pictures of a diseased random person? This makes no sense. The whole premise is very shaky.
Anyway, with his "cybernetic flash memory implants" he can store all the info in his brain.
After this episode, we get some plot about another woman claiming to be the "real" Batgirl - setting out to ruin Batgirl's good name and take over her place as Burnside's protector. ...
- The art.
- Barbara is strong and go-get-'em but she's also like a real person. She's relatable and fallible.
- Women mentor women. This is so strong. Such game. Barbara is led and coached by Dinah, Barbara herself is set up to lead and coach at the end. I like this, and I like women protecting other women, too. It was very refreshing.
- Frankie, a MC, has muscular dystrophy. She is sexy, cool, is shown hooking up with men (and it's mentioned she mainly hooks up with women, although that isn't shown) and generally being awesome.
- Also, there are gay people in here, bisexual people, people of all colors - I wish I could say all body types, but that would be a lie.
I DIDN'T LIKE:
- The plot. It was far-reaching and not very convincing or engaging.
- Every heterosexual male wants to have sex with Barbara. I mean, I guess this isn't UNBELIEVABLE, she's very attractive. But it was annoying.
- Anime knowledge saves lives. Actually, all the villains in this were SUPER-LAME. I was annoyed. Really? REALLY?!!?!? The twins Yuri and Yuki were the worst. I mean, just unbelievable. That guy was almost as bad. Ugh. Even the big bad at the end was just... no.
- The whole police plot and everything it entails.
Tl;dr - I feel like all this has been done before, and better. I'm not eager to pick up Volume Two.
This is basically YA Batgirl with some of the worst tropes YA has to offer. Have you always wanted girls in comics to hate each other and fight for no reason? Well thanks, you're part of the problem then.
I don't have any issue with tone changes, and how much I liked Gotham Academy is a testament to that. This was not the Batgirl I love though. (Also, wtf is up with Black Canary's character??) In regards to the tone, there are some really dark moments in this that are at odds with the overall feel. Back when this was being published as issues, there was some controversy over a variant cover: . I think the main complaint with fans of Batgirl (who actually have read Batgirl comics) was that it just didn't fit, and now I totally understand why. It was a variant cover so I doesn't really bother me, but I get why it might bother some.
There is some potential for a good story here and I just hope it doesn't continue down its current path.
side note: Yes, I realize Babs is 21 in this. No, I will not call it New Adult. Stop trying to make NA happen, it's not going to happen.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
*Deep sigh* When I first heard about and saw the image of the "New" batgirl, I knew that I probably wouldn't like it. I read the first issue, and it angered me. Now reading this just confirms my initial response. The current run of Batgirl up to this point, Gail Simone had done a great job of building up Barbara Gordon. I feel with this reboot, Yes it's a reboot. I don't care what the creative team says. Which they proudly and loudly proclaimed it wasn't a reboot. They turned Batgirl into this Hipster type of hero. It doesn't work for me. In the first issue she makes a hooq account (Knockoff of tinder dating app) She saves the day by using her smart phone to stop the villain, who has stolen a friends personal data, and threatened to spread it on the internet. As well as a "Biker gang" called the Jawbreakerz, I believe. in the second issue. The villains through out this entire volume where horrific....ly Bad. Not interesting or entertaining in the least. This current creative team has turned one of my all-time favorite heroes into a character I wouldn't recommend to ANYONE. It makes me weep for the stories Gail Simone did, Death of the Family, That's Batgirl. That is a strong Woman. I get DC is trying to be more Inclusive and get a more diverse audience. Something that is good. But in doing so they have ruined a great character. They've turned Barbara Gordon into a Pretty little Liars character. Also I think they have been marketing this as an all age comic, It's not. The content, while not overly crude is too crude for that. I mean the first issue the real villain of the book is her fighting a Hangover! I do my best to always say something positive in a review, and here it is. The artwork wasn't bad. That's it. Also be careful if You read this volume, and tweet about it negatively. As Cameron Stewart has been known to troll the hashtag and send his fans on the defense. I am hopeful maybe in a year or two, They will give Batgirl to another team, who can bring her back to her greatness.
I recieved an advanced copy of this book on Netgalley.com and from the publisher.
So why do superheroes have to be rebooted? Because wouldn't it make more sense to just mirror the real world and bring in new heroes? Not the next in line for this or that great hero name, but actual new heroes whom no one had ever heard of before they showed up in these pages? That's just kind of how time works. I get that Batman and Superman and others want to hand their mantle to the next generation but each generation would also spawn its own heroes, right? You don't have to sign up to be Nightwing or Robin or Batgirl or Supergirl or Superdog or Batchinchilla or what have you. There would be a whole new set of heroes growing up every decade, wouldn't there be?
Pretty much, why did Babs have to become a smart-phone addicted, self-focused, ridiculous millennial grad student who is full of assholishness? What was wrong with Barbara Gordon being who she has been and still should probably be and making the irritating little twit in this book someone else entirely? Like maybe Party Girl? Or DramaDiva? Or The Millennial Monster? Also, if DC is bringing things up to date for the social media lovin' world, why is Black Canary still Dinah Lance? Why not match up with the show and have her be Laurel? Why aren't the comics and the shows and the movies syncing? Oh. Right. Because DC is covered with MORON.
In addition to the main character being everything old women like me hate in the younger generations, the story is bad. When I say bad, I mean it's poorly-written, the pacing is terrible, it's silly, and it makes no sense. It seems that I'm late to the game so I was a little confused, at first, what with starting this show following Babs' move into a swanky condo in Burnside. Where's Burnside? Who are these girls with Barbara? What's going on? Here's the thing: Even though this collects Batgirl Vol. IV, #35-40, the compendium is called Batgirl VOLUME ONE meaning it's the first volume of these collected Batgirl stories, yes?. So it should start at a relative beginning, yes?? Apparently not. It starts with a move. Babs has left Alysia and is bunking with Frankie, now. Frankie runs down the front stoop to meet her new roomie and give hugs and such, indicating they're good friends. Ok. Fine. I'll catch up, I'm sure. It will be explained in a flashback before the end of the chapter. Only, it's not. And later, all the girls go clubbing and someone who looks like Frankie is using crutches because her legs have been bad lately. Does Frankie have a twin who uses crutches? What's happening? You have to wait until the last part of the book to find out. I guess people who read Batgirl Vol. IV, #1-33 probably understood all that was happening but for those of us who misunderstood Batgirl, Volume 1 to be the first in this series, it was confusing.
Also confusing: Here is Babs walking around her college campus.
A bubblegum/manga motorcycle duo come racing through, tearing up the joint (because: Reasons) and Babs has to change into her Batgirl uniform in a shed nearby. This is her uniform:
Where was she keeping all those clothes? They weren't in the shed. So she was carrying them all along? Sure. The jacket and pants and gloves and even maybe the mask, they could all be some fancy, lightweight, space age material that folds into tiny packets like those big rain ponchos you can carry in your back pocket. But the boots? Where were the boots? Those soles are not made of flimsy, foldable stuff and it certainly doesn't look like it's all being toted around in the messenger bag, soooo... Yes. Those are the types of things I notice. It's like we're watching 60's TV again. Suspend all disbelief (and intelligence), ye who enter here! NO! I will suspend disbelief but not when it comes to purses and bags. If you can't draw those correctly, just quit the illustration business.
Lack of consistency just seems like another term for laziness to me. For example, this spoiler.
And that bothered me for lots of reasons, not just the lack of consistency.
The worst, though?
I love the art in this thing. It's adorable. There's a problem here and there but for the most part, it's delightful to look at! I was all impressed with this Babs Tarr person, excited that maybe there's a fun, new female talent on the scene...only... Gabe was flipping through the back of the book and suddenly went nuts, like Godzilla crazy. He was shouting about how that's not OK and back in the day, this would have been so frowned upon. I asked him what in the Sam Hill he was talking about and he said that Babs Tarr wasn't the artist. Cameron Stewart was. He did the layouts and then Babs traced over them, adding her cuteness to each picture. I said, "Well...doesn't that make her the inker, then? I don't know why she's being given credit as the artist, but..." Gabe had some apoplexy and roared around, stomping, "NO! She's not the inker! She's a TRACER! She's tracing someone else's work and then that's what gets inked! She's not doing the work but she's getting the credit!" He had righteous indignation. I thought he was going to tear the book to pieces with his teeth. But...look:
Cameron Stewart does actually do all the work. The layout, the perspective, the...everything. She just comes and pencils over his art to make it cuter. And then she gets the credit. That does seem wrong. I feel like I'm being tricked into believing there's an awesome new female talent drawring these drawrings and maybe that will make me buy this book but she's not actually drawring the drawrings. She's just enhancing them and we're not being informed. I don't even know why they fessed up to this at all. I imagine more people than just Gabe are infuriated by this and will now not support Babs the Batgirl or Babs the artist.
All in all, I'm not impressed. I won't be following this series. I guess it's nice to be back in the Disappointed With DC boat since I've become so comfortable here.
This was good but it pales in comparison to its forerunner, that being Gail Simone's outstanding and hard-boiled take on the character. Consider Ms. Simone's work as a four-star restaurant, so then this is strictly a fast-food version. Still, sometimes even a Big Mac and a Coke are satisfying, if not filling.
Anyway, Barbara 'Babs' Gordon moves to a trendy Gotham suburb and tries to be a diligent college student, but that pesky crime-fighter alter ego responsibility puts a strain on just about everything in her life. In this volume her foes are basically B-list tech-based villains -- boatloads of lap-tops, cell-phones, apps, social media, etc. figure in the stories. Still, she makes new friends and acquaintances that assist her (whether they know it or not) when she dons the cape & cowl at night. Black Canary also makes appearances, but she spends much of the time involved in a feud with Babs. :-(
I know that not all of you will understand my infatuation with this particular graphic novel among all the books, comic or otherwise, that I have read and reviewed. I'm pretty sure at least one of you will and that's enough for me.
Looking back to two-three months ago, I'm pretty sure this is the first comic book issue I read in my adult life. That's reason enough to feel strongly about it.
the list of things I liked about Batgirl of Burnside is long. Long enough, in fact, that I can dismiss some of the things that can be argued about in the comic book. For the sake of being fair, I will, of course, mention them, but first I would like to tell you why exactly I loved Batgirl so much.
1. Look at the graphics, come on! I want to distinguish here the difference between the indie comic books and the DC and Marvel ones. The style is obviously completely different, with the indie books being drawn with what seems to me to be a lot more care and detail and creativity. On the other hand, from my experience, however small, with superhero comic books they work on building a bigger picture and at moments some parts of the whole seem to be suffering from it. I took a look at the previous version of the Batgirl and I did not enjoy it nearly as much. For one, the graphics were not to my taste, and for the other - although I admit I don't know that much about it, from the descriptions and some of the panels, it seemed like Batgirl is just a random sidekick that happens to have its own story. So much for empowered women. 2. Empowered women: YES, I love how most of the kick-ass characters in The Batgirl of Burnside are girls. I'm sorry if someone feels offended by that. Instead of Batman mentoring Batgirl, I saw Dinah doing it. Instead of them calling guys for back-up, they had each other's backs. Instead of male professors coming up with great ideas, girls did it. Yes, of course it's highly improbable that a barely-out-of-her-teens girl will be developing brilliant algorithms and saving the world and having a social life, but you can't claim to be reading superhero comic books for realism. 3. It's funny and sunny and colorful. I think there is plenty of gloomy and dark comic books, why not enjoy a lighter one with a decent bad guy fighting and saving lives while having some humor. I, personally, don't need everything around me to be dark and brooding and torturous. 4. It's so hilariously hipster, seriously! I spent a lot of time just looking at the pictures of big groups of characters so that I can find even one that is not painfully hipster. Guess my results. (It's a hobby just as any other. Better this than collecting dead people's ears or something.) 5. I just really love Barbara. She is not over-idealized. Instead she is down-to-earth, sometimes under the weather, but also clever and decisive and she wants to help and she also wants to hang out with her friends or go out with guys. She is normal and yet kick-ass. What's not to love.
As promised, I will also give some of the things that are hard not to notice and in a more negative way: 1. How Barbara is the immediate center of every guy's attention and she proceeds to flirting withe every one of them. I can see that she is hot, but if you look at the entire comic book, you'd see that all of the girls are. Hell, Dinah is hotter. 2. The villains of each issue were not as threatening as I would ideally want them to be. And technically, nothing that happened in the entire issue would have happened without Barbara. Eh... 3. A little bit more depth could be added without the series becoming too gritty and moody.
But none of these change the warm fuzzy ball of feelings I have for Batgirl. Sorrynotsorry.
I received this from DC Comics and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Wow. Terrible. I'm not part of the target audience for this "new" Batgirl, obviously. This series went from a "grown-up" storyline to one focused on a much younger crowd, complete with drinking (and subsequent hangovers), no respect for authority, and a ton of teen and new adult angst. Nope, not for me. DNF @ 13%.
I really liked the art and that's the main reason this gets three stars -- in reality, it's more like two and a half stars. This was just so freaking hipster that it was unreal. Not in a good way either!
Some artist guy pretending to be Batgirl to ruin her reputation, Barbara Gordon basically throwing tantrums when Dinah Lance (aka Black Canary) calls her out for her immature/inconsiderate behavior, and the storyline that centers around Barbara's thesis computer program overtaking an app that people are using so it can kill her (and anyone else it sees as a threat to the city) and take over protecting Burnside! Plus, that whole thing with those people who cosplayed some rando cartoon and then took on a hit contract for Batgirl...WTF???!!! Not to mention the drag-racing reality tv star...
I just feel like after everything Barbara Gordon has been through since she became Batgirl (even just counting the New 52's version of continuity), that this story-arc regressed her to just another bratty, social-media obsessed, self-entitled millenial. I really hated her interactions with Dinah. That REALLY brought this version of Batgirl down for me. The storyline with her new roommate kind of confused me as well. They knew each other from physical therapy, but was the roommate still sick or not? Just the whole way that backstory was presented (in the middle of the sentient program mess) was a disjointed clusterfuck. Overall, completely uninterested in reading any more of this nonsense. I prefer the Barbara Gordon who acts her age and has a maturity level above the age of 13. Just disappointed in this nonsense. But hey yo, pretty artwork and all that jazz...
***Also, ORACLE didn't back up her thesis???!!! Yeah right. I'm SO sure.
This is my first ever Batgirl comic book! I'm only really familiar with the character from other media, though. While I felt out of the loop at times, the story is still more or less self-contained. I have to admit that I wish she was still a librarian or at least in training, but I'm still intrigued with this version of the character. I'm not all that familiar with DC characters, but I'd also like to get to know Dinah Lance better. I may be continuing this run in the future.
i understand why a lot of people didn’t enjoy this; it does pale in comparison to its predecessor. i went in with zero expectations and thought it was enjoyable. i really like the storyline - programs becoming sentient has always been really fascinating & simultaneously creepy to me.
I went into this without ever having read any Batgirl comics but having recently read Ms. Marvell (after reading gr friends' praises.) I gave Ms. Marvell a 4 star rating, and that was mostly because I was excited to read an interesting variation on a female super hero. There was some nice diversity in there in terms of characters and predicaments. Ms. Marvel herself was complex and really struggling to figure out where she fits in with her Muslim family and the larger world of villains, heroes, and muggle-wuggles (mormals?). I can't say I loved it. But it was pretty okay.
Batgirl also tries to bring in some diversity but it feels forced and pretty silly. The airbrushed prettiness of everyone is I guess just how these superhero books go, but it gets a bit exhausting, what with having to shade my eyes against the glare. Also, I think having Gotham City be so shiny was a bit much. All in all the book was too shiny and flat and superficial for me. But I tend to dislike superhero comics. I tend to judge with extra padding in the higher star direction to make up for my inherent feelings of meh around the genre.
After reading some other reviews, I am curious to check out some of the previous Batgirls (written by Gail Simone).
Just for fun, Strong Female Protagonist by Kate Beaton (Hark A Vagrant).
There were a lot of things I really liked about this Batgirl reboot. First of all, Barbara's new costume is fantastic. I love the more utilitarian look of the outfit, emphasizing function over sex appeal. This is the kind of thing that I feel like a female superhero would actually wear. The art is dynamic and colorful, adding to the more youthful tone that the new creative team seems to be going for.
When DC started their New 52 line the thing that bothered me most about the new titles was the fact that they cured Barbara of her previous paralysis. While I applaud their continued use of the past trauma as a character point for her, I still think that it was a mistake to "fix" the character. During her Oracle phase Barbara was not only one of the only prominent disabled superheroes, but also one of the only DC heroes to fight solely with her intelligence rather then by punching things. By getting rid of this they've made her hardly different from any of the other brute force heroes. I was happy to see that the main plot of this volume relied heavily on Barbara's computer skills, and on a crime fighting algorithm that sounded like pure Oracle.
I found Barbara a little bit immature and annoying in parts of this volume, and had to keep reminding myself that she was a young girl who had been through significant trauma and that her behavior was to some extent understandable. While I personally prefer a more mature version of Batgirl, I can see that this incarnation could be widely appealing and she is quite well written. I will definitely continue to read this series and I hope that as it continues Barbara will begin to voluntarily transition towards Oracle and away from being another random member of the Bat family.
So I think it's safe to say that reading this immediately after finishing up Gail Simone's run was a pretty big mistake.
On one hand, "Batgirl of Burnside" features of a lot of interesting elements. I love the new costume design. The artwork is appealing. I really enjoy the format a of a bunch of one shots that lead into a larger storyline. I also don't mind the lighter tone, as a fault of Simone's run is that it could feel excessively grim. Yet, at the same time I found myself kind of wishing they had taken all of these positive elements and applied them to a different character than Barbara Gordon (perhaps a new Batgirl?), as she feels so dramatically than in Simone's run, that she might have well been a different character. She feels younger here, and even a little bratty. It also bother me that this volume drops some of the plot lines and downplays the characters featured in Simone's run, such as Batgirl's former roommate Alysia.
The storylines themselves have problems too. For example, the larger arc has a lot of interesting ideas, but given that these ideas were better explored in a major blockbuster movie last year, it feels derivative. Still, I don't think that I would have been bothered by this comic as much had it not been for the fact that Babs just doesn't feel like Babs anymore. I suspect that new readers will feel quite different approaching this title, and will probably enjoy it more. I don't know if I will continue to read this comic when the second hardcover hits my library. If I do, I hope that having some distance from Simone's run will allow me to enjoy it more.
There's a quote from a review by IGN on the back of this vol that reads "not your daddy's Batgirl" and it couldn't be more accurate. This is your 14 year old's Batgirl. Washed down, perky, cute, and trying too hard to be hip and cool. Where's the character integrity? Not anywhere in this vol, that's for sure.
Barbara was so changed from what she once was regarded as that one of the other character's even pointed it out. I didn't really come here to see Babs fight villains based off of non-existent anime characters or watch her hop from one guy to another. At least the art was pretty and the colours were great. Otherwise this was a vol that didn't really do much, not even in the way of making Batgirl cooler...
Batgirl of Burnside provided the template for the post-Convergence DC Universe. How often does Batgirl get to do something like that?
As part of the New 52 reboot, DC took the opportunity to put Barbara Gordon, the most famous Batgirl, back in the suit. That involved a controversial cure for Barbara’s paralysis and erasing her long-running role as Oracle, one of the few superheroes with a physical disability. The reboot also shaved about a decade off Barbara’s age, knocking her back to her early 20s.
While the New 52 Batgirl series was generally well regarded, it was a middling seller and seemed to generate buzz only when crossing over into a Batman story. The darker hued plots didn’t seem to take full advantage of Barbara’s de-aging.
DC raised eyebrows by handing Batgirl to the team of writers Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr. The team modernized the character in attention-grabbing ways that turned the title into a hit.
Stewart and Fletcher move Barbara to Burnside, a funky neighborhood of Gotham akin to certain enclaves in real world Brooklyn. They send her back to grad school and surround her with a diverse group of multicultural supporting characters. Technology, especially the internet and social media, are omnipresent. The tone is lighter and Barbara actually is allowed to act like a young 20something and even have fun. A couple of love interests circle Barbara (including a scruffy professor and a young cop who likes Barbara way more than he likes Batgirl). And the university setting helps Batgirl score her very own Q in an engineering grad student.
To prompt a make-over, the writers have a freak fire destroy all of Barbara’s Batgirl gear (an incident that also lands quasi-estranged friend/ally Black Canary as Barbara’s prickly houseguest). Without the resources to reconstruct her old gear, Barbara concocts a new Batgirl uniform on the fly. Now more grounded in a world recognizable to a lot of readers, Batgirl goes on to become the sensation of Burnside. Colorful foes include internet blackmailer Riot Black; the Jawbreakers, twin cyclists based on an anime series from Barbara’s youth; a sparkly, faux Batgirl; and even Barbara’s own mind gone awry. Batgirl embraces social media, but quickly discovers the downside to celebrity.
Stewart and Fletcher’s concept is very appealing. They remake Batgirl into a thoroughly contemporary tale with a lot of humor and well-placed observations. They don’t ignore Barbara’s history; indeed, the arc’s climax is steeped in Barbara’s past. Instead, the writers make use of key events in Barbara’s back story in a way that lets the series move on from it while not feeling obliged to account for every Batgirl story of the past. The climax also teases the emergence of a new version of Oracle. Seeing a lighter hearted, young adult Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, who deals with school, friends and dating while chasing crooks, is pretty great. The intelligence and wit that have always defined Barbara are there, but are viewed through a different filter. This version of Batgirl has a lot in common with the one seen in the seminal Batman: The Animated Series.
Tarr, working closely with indispensable colorist Maris Wicks, matches the writers in embracing modernity for Batgirl. The new look Batgirl, designed by Stewart and Tarr, is a canny take on what a superhero costume constructed in the real world might look like. It honors Batgirl’s classic uniform, but has lots of smart, modern details. Beyond that, Tarr and Wicks craft a strong visual identity for the new Batgirl. There’s an energetic, anime influence to the work that pops quite nicely. The artists glam things up when appropriate and can get grimy when that’s called for, too. It’s miles from gritty realism and that’s a good thing. It’s warm, appealing work that matches the tone of the writing pretty perfectly. A clever two-page sequence using Barbara’s eidetic memory to reconstruct the scene of a party is especially memorable.
For the record, the collected edition of Batgirl of Burnside alters a controversial panel that some fans found to be transphobic. The edited panel softens what originally was played as Batgirl’s surprise that a character she believed to be female was really male. Opinions differ on the original panel, but hopefully fans who reacted negatively to it will appreciate DC’s attempt to address their concerns.
The new direction for the series may not be to everyone’s taste. But Batgirl of Burnside proved how effective a fresh approach not obsessively tethered to continuity can be. It’s the spirit that’s guiding DC’s new era and makes for a thoroughly enjoyable Batgirl story.
First off I want to give a huge thank you to DC for approving me, because that has never happened before and it basically made my geeky little heart explode. Secondly, this graphic novel was so much fun!
Before I was huge into Marvel and same publishers DC was my main source of comic book goodness, that was pre-New 52 and I hung on for a while afterwards but the amount of comics I pick from DC have been few and far between since then. However everything I’ve read so far has been really great, and I think that Batgirl is one of the best ones!
Barbara Gordon is off to Burnside, to get away from Batman (like pretty much all the other Bat family members) and to start a new life in Burnside across the river. She wants her own experiences without the taint of Gotham, and she wants to make her own mark as Batgirl. First off, kudos to her for getting away from Bruce…he’s such a downer sometimes and his proteges tend to do a lot better without him. Secondly her new costume is very awesome! It’s functional ,it doesn’t have unnecessary clinginess, and it honestly looks like someone who is a college budget can afford to put together. This new story for Batgirl seems to be aimed at the teenage audience, so it’s definitely got a more upbeat vibe to it than one of the normal Gotham fare. She’s not just a crime fighter anymore, she’s a college student who is using her smarts to help fight crime during the day as well. It also gets points for explaining the whole walking thing after the reboot, because while I’m super excited she’s no longer confined to being Oracle it’s still a hell of thing to recover from.
The story is action packed and full of cool little twists and turns. Her amazing memory and thinking come into play a lot and we get to see some true Batman family style sleuthing. The bad guys are a little more down-to-earth in terms of reality, and definitely not on the same scale as Joker or Catwoman…but they are dangerous in a difference sense. Barbara’s personality shift is explained, and I feel that the way she acts in this one could rub some fans the wrong way. But I’m just glad that despite being able to run around and kickbutt again, she is still using her brain and computer skills to bring down the bad guys. And of course the ever important mortality issue around vigilantes comes up again towards the end, so it will be interesting to see how much that affects her in the next set of issues. And the art is fantastic! I really love the character models and shapes in this one, and it stands out when compared to the super detailed and saturated world of DC.
Overall I think it’s a fun series that would be great to reach new younger audiences, and maybe even some of the older ones. I’ll be keeping up with the series from now own, even if it’s only through trade paperbacks, because it’s too good to miss out on.
I was really jazzed by the concept of a reboot of a DC comic - even a well-regarded run by Gail Simone - into something pitched as fun, less serious, a little more grounded in real-girl problems. Fun art, a groovy costume redesign - how could this go wrong?
Then I saw the flood of reviews from GoodReads friends, and without re-reading them today, I'm going on the gut memory that they found the book boring, not well-written, a little disjointed or misfired. Disappointing all in all. Bummer.
So the library recalled this book last week, which means I'm paying good money to keep this on my shelf, and I better just get the read over with.
What do *I* think, you ask half-heartedly? Well first off, I *love* the art - the character acting is wonderfully expressive and fun, and the action is fluid and graceful.
And the storyline is finally something *I* can relate to - tech and apps and data security and hacking and obscure pop culture and artisanal microbrew...*drool* This is definitely my kinda Barbara Gordon.
Aaaand then we come to the unfortunate moment when the male villain shows up in Batgirl's costumes. I didn't read this as "trans" suggestive until the climax when he goes off his nut, at which point I felt sufficiently squicked by the sudden psychopathic turn to trigger on the other trumped-up trigger here.
Yes, for those looking for a slight against trans people, this could be interpreted as such. However I see nothing in the villain's behaviours or speech to indicate anything other than someone who's stealing an identity and using the glam and shock value of cross-gender to elicit surprise.
Should the creators have anticipated this mistaken blowback? Maybe. It's too bad the surprise value of the reveal got washed out in the fury of gender politics, and we didn't just see this as an interesting if odd little storyline.
Other than that, I'm impressed how well the characters are handled. For a book with this many attractive females, it's nice to note they aren't heavily sexualized in either their costumes or their behaviour.
What isn't so impressive is the subplot about how capes are a menace to law&order, attention hogs, endangering people. It's a cliche of comics by now, and there's nothing new except which character is under scrutiny this time around.
Despite a couple of minor complaints, I really enjoyed this book. The writing seems unforced, the characters are interesting, the art is a blast to look at, and there's lots of potential for more fun in future volumes. Hope they stick with this team for a while.
I expected to like this but wow, I really hated it. What have they done to Barbara! Why is Batgirl now an annoying hipster? And the villains in this are laughable, they're so cartoony its almost childish and yet there is a weird imbalance with the more adult content about drinking, hangovers, sex and dating apps.
I do not like the new bat suit, the doc martens and leather jacket combination is so try-hard hipster it upsets me. All the integration of social media - it's everywhere - into the art and the story grated on me too. I'm clearly too old for this, I felt like to was trying hard to be cool and I hated it. The idea of Batgirl being on Instagram is just wrong to me.
The villains are ridiculous and really shouldn't have been as a much of a challenge to Barbara. I don't know who my *favorite* was.. the cos-players from an obscure anime show or the crazy cross-dressing artist guy. There was also a little homage to the Bling Ring burglaries. They all added up to reveal the 'real' villain which felt like a story so overdone it was almost a face palm.
Barbara is pretty winy and selfish. I feel like shes has a total personality transplant. Black Canary is in this but has the unreasonable, bitchy adult character always nagging at Barbara for various reasons. She is justifiably upset that Barbara's usage of her storage lock up without asking lead to all her stuff being lost in a fire. She always has a grumpy face in the art and her function is mostly to stop the cool college kids from having fun. This bugged me too. Oh then she just randomly joins a rock band.
Also not a fan of the art style, that's my personal preference.
I've been reading A LOT of comic books lately, but haven't really been listing them here on Goodreads. I do, however, have to make an exception for Batgirl of Burnside. It was freaking EXCELLENT.
Let me start by saying that I was really hesitant about even giving the "new" Batgirl a chance. I was charmed by Gail Simone's Batgirl and, after seeing previews of the first few pages of issue #35 thought this reworked version was not for me. I wasn't super down with the artwork and I thought the social media references would be cheesy (turns out they aren't).
I am SO HAPPY that I met Brenden Fletcher when he was doing a signing on Free Comic Book Day (and grateful to the Crossover Comics employee who urged me to approach Fletcher's table even after I admitted that I was only familiar with the "old" Batgirl) because I don't think that I would've picked up Batgirl of Burnside otherwise. Fletcher was warm and personable and he single-handedly sold me on his, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr's Batgirl. He told me to wait for the first trade paper volume's release in June and promoed Black Canary (squee!).
I picked up my copy the week it came out and devoured it whilst sipping an iced Americano on a shady terrasse. This book was perfect--the characters were well-developed (their brains and diversity was much-appreciated), the writing whip-smart and well-paced and the art so vibrant and alive. I may have to start pulling individual issues as they are released because I need more Batgirl now!
So, I decided it was time for me to finally try some Batgirl and... I honestly don’t know if I like it or not.
What’s it about? Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) is now going to college for... uhh... I think it’s some technology thingy... they didn’t focus too much on what she was studying. Anyways, a lot of crazy s*** happens involving her, Burnside (where she’s going to college) and modern technology!
Pros: The second half or so of this book is pretty interesting. I LOVE THE ART SO MUCH! Tarr and Wicks do an amazing job making this book full of great panels. This book is never predictable. I was constantly wondering what would happen next! The action scenes in this book are fantastic and frequent! I got real excited for all of them! The ending is a great way to end a story arc IMO.
Cons: The first part of the story... ugh! For a while the story was just horrible. The characters annoyed the s*** out of me! Barbara is just annoying and kind of a f*** up to put it bluntly. Either messing things up or showing off. Most of the other characters are just generic AF. The only interesting character is Dinah (Black Canary), she’s a cool crime-fighter who is smart, I actually cared about her Everyone not named Dinah however (sigh)... Okay, this kinda ties in with the last problem, I just had to have a rant section for this but the villains suck. They aren’t smart, they aren’t intimidating, they aren’t well thought out either. The last villain was better but her story barely made any sense and that is only if you know your DC history well, the other two just plain sucked so... yeah... you guys need better villains.
The attempts at humor do not work. The dialogue is pretty horrible at times. I’m not gonna go into details but it made me cringe more than once. It’s what I’d imagine talking to fifth grade hipsters would be like.
Overall: It’s okay I’d say. It gets a lot better by the end. I love the art, there’s some great action and I like how unpredictable it is. I unfortunately can not stand the villains, characters or dialogue.