By Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr & Maris Wicks
A new creative change is always a risk on a book but the pre-release buzz for this new creative team on Batgirl was pretty much unanimously supportive. The creative team, costume change and artwork looked awesome and it promised to be a fun, more light hearted take on Barbara Gordon and a step away from the traditional grimdark style that DC have been following since the launch of the New 52. And whilst it took a while to get used to the tonally different run, especially for someone who has read all 34 issues of Batgirl so far, the latest issue delivers on pretty much all accounts. It’s fun, awesome and everyone on board knock it out of the park.
The book starts with Batgirl abandoning her old life and heading for a change of scenery following the revelation that she did not actually kill James Gordon Jr. It’s handled well, designed to appeal more to young adults and it works. Barbara’s dialogue is realistic and handled well, and with the focus on establishing the new cast rather than creating any big plot development, the character development is in a good place as well. Much like in the previews, the Batgirl costume looks great, and although we only get to see Barbara wear it for a short amount of time in this issue, the scenes are handled pretty well indeed. If this reviewer had one complaint it would be the writing out of Alysia fairly early on, given that she’s quickly become one of the series’ strongest side characters under Simone’s writing.
Babs Tarr handles the artwork for this book and it’s pretty awesome, with everything being handled well. Maris Wicks’ colours are strong and the two artists get off to a relatively good start, and it’ll be interesting to see what they can come up with going forward.
The book doesn’t feel like your average superhero book, despite the fact that Barbara still dons the suit and fights crime. It feels a lot more different than the average New 52 book, and like Gotham Academy, It’s great to have a slightly lighter tone in an otherwise entirely grimdark Batman line. However, that said, it’s going to take a while to get used to especially as, like what has already been mentioned, you are familiar with the previous issues in this series.
Something that Barbara fans will enjoy about this book is that she uses her intelligence to solve a case. It’s handled well and whilst Batgirl previously has focused more about the fighting than the actual crime solving, it’s a nice reminder of her turn as Oracle and her photographic memory was handled well.
If there is one complaint about an otherwise excellent start it would feel that the social network element of the issue was a bit over the top. It didn’t quite work as well as it should have done, with a lot of social media outlets being created only to advance the story. Also, the bad guys even talk in hashtags. Thankfully though, the rest of the book impresses despite this and the minor flaw can be easily overlooked.
In conclusion then, Batgirl #35 is an excellent jumping on point and it’s great to have more lighter toned series at DC and as a result this comes highly recommended. It’s certainly something that you should definitely pick up this week.