Pull or Pass: Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside

7 May 2015

If you’ll remember, I had previously wanting to review new-to-me comics regularly. It was one of my goals, and I thoroughly enjoyed it — but financial reasons, and then school, got in the way and this feature got pushed to the side. Part of my hesitation in picking this back up was due in part to my “meh” feelings about continuing to call it “New-to-Me Comics.” But after much deliberation, I’ve finally come up with something that I’m happy with and I’ve also finally had time to read some new-to-me comics!

So without further ado or rambling…

Comics: Pull or Pass

Batgirl of Burnside Vol 1Batgirl Vol 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52)
Written by: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Art by: Babs Tarr
Published by: DC
Publication date: expected June 16th, 2015

Synopsis: “Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes so when a fire destroys everything she owned, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life—and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl and discovers all-new threats preying on her peers! It’s a re-invention of Batgirl from the boots up!” This Volume 1 picks up Batgirl #35-40, plus a story from Secret Origins #10.

Why I picked it up: Ok, so firstly I’ve got to say that I got this in advance and for free from Netgalley. (As always, my views are my own.) Babs holds a special place in my heart. Especially Babs as written by Gail Simone. While I was sad when I learned she was leaving the title, this new, hip, revamped Batgirl really sparked my interest. First off, her new outfit is just awesome. I’m a big fan. And secondly, I was curious about this new Batgirl who seemed a lot more in tune to today’s 20-somethings. I mean, we all know I’m loving Kamala Khan’s coming of age story, so the idea of this fresh, maybe more relatable Batgirl is something I want.

My initial thoughts: (Warning: Spoiler-ish Zone.) I am super torn. Babs is my girl. And I so, so, so wanted to love this new version and be head over heals like I am with Ms. Marvel. But… Batgirl of Burnside just falls short. I get what they’re trying to do and where they want to go with this revamp. Bringing Batgirl into our modern culture of texting and tinder/online dating and swarms of hipster issues. But… I feel like it was a little lacking. There we definitely enjoyable parts. I’m excited to see how college works out for Babs. And I’m enjoying the art. But when I finished, I just felt underwhelmed. Some of the villains, and how things resolved, just felt sort of meh. The jawbreaker twins? So much potential — that is, if they were actually real villains. Even Dagger had some potential to be interesting, but he was just sort of a pawn. And then when Babs finally comes against the mastermind of all this, the big take down felt like I was watching some children’s show. You did something bad, now stop. Ok. Yay the world is saved! It was just lackluster.

Pull or Pass: I mean, I’m going to pick up #41 to see what happens next… but it’s not like I’m going to go absolutely out of my way to make sure I pick it up on day 1. I’d like to see how her relationship with Officer Powell effects her ability to be Batgirl — if it will push any growth out of her. That issue of being a superhero, and wanting to do good by and for the community, but also how to work with the law as well. Also, I realize that some people are ready and wanting to move past The Killing Joke now that Barbara has regained the use of her legs again — but there is so much strength and growth to come from her survival. I hope that doesn’t ever get lost.

Are you reading the new Batgirl of Burnside? What are your thoughts?

  • Ari Carr

    I kind of feel the same way. I absolutely adore the artwork and the more modern direction, but it does feel lacking in some places,

    • Hopefully it’ll pick up in the next arch. That or maybe DC will stop pulling Gail Simone off Batgirl! It’s just not the same without her. (Not that the others aren’t good in their own regards, but Simone just gets Babs in a way it doesn’t feel like others can/do.)

  • Kay

    I adore Babs Tarr’s artwork, and in fact bought issue #35 (same cover as the Vol. 1 here) just for her to sign when I met her on free comic book day! But I agree with you – I’m just not super compelled to continue it. I’ve only read the first few issues, and it definitely didn’t hook me. (I also agree that I’m loving Ms. Marvel! Finally read the first volume and it’s great!)

    • I definitely like Babs Tarr’s artwork better than a lot of “mainstream” comic artists. It’s fresh, fun, and not overtly degrading/absurd. I’ve seen a little excitement about issue #41, so I’ll probably check it out… or read some reviews… but… I just feel kind of bummed that one of my favorite characters just isn’t making me fangasm any more.

  • Celeste

    I agree. I read the first couple of issues of the new run and then I just got bored. Bab’s art is great and I like the idea of the contemporary direction, but it feels a bit immature at times and under whelming. I plan to read some of Gail Simone’s Batgirl soon to get a better idea of the character.

    • I love, love, LOVE Gail Simone’s Batgirl. She also did a great job with Oracle — Barbara Gordon’s character while she was paralyzed post Killing Joke. I’ve been thinking about returning to her work in Birds of Prey.

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