After last week’s start of the New 52, we now get to take a look at Barbara Gordon stepping back into her role of Batgirl.
This is my third issue of the new 52. Justice League was the first and though it was enjoyable it was nothing that gripped me in my seat. Detective Comics was the second which I found very lacking. I am very happy to say though that I completely loved this issue of Batgirl. Something I admit I was very worried about as I loved Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl and Barbara in her role of Oracle. Gail Simone though starts off a new number 1 in this relaunch almost perfectly.
First we get treated to the main villain of the series. A man calling himself “The Mirror” and is going around killing people they believe should have died and his list includes Barbara Gordon’s name. At that moment we then get sent to see Barbara working once again as Batgirl. This first panel with Batgirl is the only part of the issue I find a little lacking. The inner monologue is great (and continues as such through the issue). The main thing is hearing her talk to herself almost as if she were talking to a little kid. It feels a little off to me, but that may be I’m just use to Stephanie almost always having Oracle or Proxy to talk to as she worked. We do get to see her pride though at being Batgirl once more as she leaps into action.
This issue we get to see Barbara leap back into action for her very first time since leaving the wheel chair. Her inner monologue slowly giving us hints that she isn’t new to the role, just that she “missed it” and slowly gives us hints that her role of Oracle has not been erased as she begins to take on her first group of murderers. Something I really thank Gail Simone for as I’m sure she knew many readers out there were not happy Barbara was leaving that role, so it is nice to see that history is not erased at least. Back to the story though, Barbara soon takes the criminals down yet it is revealed of course that she is rusty and even hinted that her legs may be a bit weak still.
All hinting soon goes away as we see Barbara dreaming about the night the Joker shot her in the spine (again, thank you Simone) and is backed up by Jim telling Babs when she awakes how happy he is to see her walking again. Not just that, but we get treated to an actual time frame of Babs being in that chair for three years – a nice tidbit of information which could help put together a timeline on how this new universe goes together later on.
Sadly for Jim, Barbara soon moves out and into a place with a roommate that sounds like she is almost never home – especially at nights. The roommate is not given a name, but does remind me a bit of Wendy Kuttler besides the eye color. As Barbara starts to bond with her new roommate, we see Mirror going after one of the crooks Batgirl took down the previous night who Batgirl rushes off to save. As she comes to the rescue though, Mirror points a gun right in the same area Joker did when he shot her and we get to see a rather interesting moment of Barbara being completely frozen and unable to save the man as Mirror pushes him out the window. This of course should lead us into a very interesting second issue to see how Babs will deal with that as well as the police officer who was there apparently blaming Batgirl for murder as she didn’t move to stop Mirror.
A very good issue with good art that feels like a true start of a relaunch to me as it gives us a very good impression of who the character is, what their past history is, and at least some of their very own fears. Simone does this too without making any of it feel quickly brushed over. My only hope for upcoming issues is that we get to find out how exactly she got the use of her legs back, and (assuming she is still part of DC in this series) just what happened to Stephanie Brown to allow Barbara to step back into the Batgirl role.