Batgirl Volume 1: The Batgirl of Burnside
The Batgirl of Burnside is a change in direction for that perennial cosplay favourite, Batgirl. Gail Simone helmed the previous run and sent the character in a darker, more studious and gritty direction. Though popular among the critics, it was hit and miss with the fans. The new team of Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr have jettisoned the overly dark tone of their predecessor in favour of a more fun, more modern approach. The result is a return to the sort of thing that makes superhero comics fun to read.
We find Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, picking up the pieces of her life in the student district of Gotham City, known as Burnside. Babs gets her laptop stolen, which just happens to contain all the software she developed when she was the wheelchair bound superhero hacker, Oracle. This triggers a chain of events that means our hero has to start from scratch, and that includes a snazzy new costume redesign. Batgirl now sports an extremely practical but cool looking outfit, from her oversized pouches to her nifty Doc Marten boots.
The Batgirl of Burnside is very pop culture conscious; the storyline is one of selfies, social media manipulation and celebrity impersonation. It’s also very different in tone to the current range of DC books. Batgirl is a sassy young lady with an incredible mind, and her friends are actually interesting characters rather than one-note clichés or platforms for social issues. The action is fast and relaxed, and the plot doesn’t sacrifice story for shock factor moments.
The tale is a little saggy in the middle and some of the surprises are pretty predictable. This is more than made up for thanks to the appearance of an interesting version of Black Canary and some excellent splash pages. The art is a pleasure and the characterisation is spot on. If DC can somehow manage to make their other lines this interesting then the New 52 range may not be a total loss after all.
INFO: BATGIRL VOLUME 1: BATGIRL OF BURNSIDE / AUTHOR: BRENDEN FLETCHER, CAMERON STEWART / ARTIST: BABS TARR, CAMERON STEWART / PUBLISHER: DC COMICS / RELEASE DATE: MAY 23RD