Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Though nothing really stood out about Gail Simone’s Batgirl, it was a really solid introduction to the issues she may grapple with in future stories. I wanted to read Batgirl because (1) I realized my superhero graphic novel reading was boy heavy and (2) I had heard so much about Gail Simone and her fight to portray more emotionally realistic women in comics. I chose Batgirl over Wonder Woman because I have just completed all of the existing volumes of Batman and Robin. In one of them there was a Batwoman (who wasn’t Barbara Gordon or Batgirl). In another, there was Oracle (the paralyzed Barbara Gordon). I haven’t read “The Killing Joke” yet, the volume that collects the stories leading up to Barbara’s paralysis, but have read Gail’s opinion of the book. She is particularly critical of the book’s end. All of this made me curious about how Gail would handle Batgirl’s return to duty, swinging through the night skies of Gotham.
She’s quippy like Spiderman, if Spiderman were a red head and a girl in a tight costume (which actually he is in the Ultimate storyline thanks to cloning). Barbara Gordon knows she is not as physically strong as the Mirror, the villain she battles in the first half of the book, but she feels confident that she is smarter than him. She beats him using her wits. The same is true in the latter half of the book when she squares off against Bruce Wayne (not as Batman).
“The Darkest Reflection” is a nice introduction to the New 52 Batgirl that promises to chronicle Barbara Gordon relearning the “in the field” aspect of being part of the Bat Family and applying the skills she acquired as the “behind the scenes” crime fighter, Oracle. She is depicted as an awkward superhero who makes mistakes, which helps her story standout from the Batman and Robin stories.
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