Saturday, July 21, 2012

Comic Review: Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection

    I’m still not all that keen on most of the characters from the big two, and like super teams, side-kicks tend to interest me almost not at all.  So, color me shocked that this volume of the New 52’s Batgirl is actually pretty good.

    Gail Simone’s name has been bandied about for years as one of the top writers, but until recently I haven’t read anything by her.  When that changed, frankly, I wasn’t impressed.  And I can’t say she’s become a favorite all of a sudden; but this is better than what I’d read before.  Her dialog (especially the running, inner monologue from Batgirl) often feels forced and artificial, like someone who is trying to be hip, but clearly isn’t.  Sometimes it feels like something Joss Wheadon would write on a bad day (not as bad a day as when he put Dollhouse together, but a bad day).  And she’s wordy.  By today’s standards, very wordy.

    But the stories are pretty good.  This volume features two tales, each centered around a different villain, each showcasing a different aspect of Batgirl herself.  The first focuses a lot on survivor’s guilt, which she has in buckets.  Now that some ‘miracle cure’ has allowed Barbara Gordon to walk again, and don the cowl again, she has a lot of emotional baggage to carry.  The second story is about the woman she could have become, if she hadn’t had a support network, love, and guidance after being paralyzed.

    I get the idea that Simone wants to spend more time with Barbara Gordon, as opposed to Batgirl.  She’s building a lot of characters for her day life, and creating a lot of tension on that end.  Not really something I care too much about.  But it’s fairly well done.  Her relationship with Batman is interesting, especially when compared to some of the Dark Knight’s other companions.  It’s like she looks up to him, not as a surrogate father, but an almost religious figure.  I wonder how that’ll play out.

    Few would be more surprised than me that Batwoman and Batgirl would trump Wonder Woman for me, but it’s true.  Both characters have a heck of a lot more personality and both comics have much better art.

Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection
Author: Gail Simone
Artists: Ardian Syaf & Vincente Cifuentes
Publisher: DC Comics
ISBN: 978-1-4012-3475-1


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