Comics Review: Batgirl # 1

Any fan of the Batverse should read this book- not just because it's a landmark event in the character's history but because, put simply, this is storytelling at it's best.

Written by Gail SimonePencils by Ardian SyafPubished by DC ComicsPrice: $2.9932 pagesIn stores now! In the solicitations for this book it reads "Yes- it's really happening!" To all those fans of The Killing Joke, as well as those that liked their Barbara Gordon paralysed from the waist down and glued to a computer screen, the fact that DC we retiring the Oracle role and returning Babs to her previous glory was, without any understatement, THE BIGGEST THING TO HAPPEN IN COMICS, LIKE, EVER! Seriously, this decision is perhaps more controversial than the relaunch itself.There are a vocal group of fans out there who firmly believe that Babs should stay wheelchair bound forever so that she can 'remain an inspiration to wheelchair users everywhere' yet, in a world where Batman recovers from his back being broken and the second Robin can rise from the grave, does it really make sense to deny Barbara the use of her legs just for the sake of having a prominent DCU character with a disability? The whole affair stunk of positive discrimination. DC were obviously aware of all the furore this book would bring and, to their credit, they've assembled one hell of a team for this book. Gail Simone, who wrote Barbara extensively throughout her Birds of Prey run, is given the task of putting Babs back in the Batgirl costume and, unsurprisingly, she handles it with both sensitivity and aplomb. She delicately details how Barbara got the use of her legs back and, much to my surprise, she does so in a manner that is completely grounded in reality. This is no miracle wave wanding but merely an everyday miracle- the kind that actually doeshappen. Long-time readers will also be glad to hear that not only did The Killing Joke still happen but it's as relevant to her character as ever, with much of this issue hinging on the long term trauma the event has induced. To its credit this issue wastes little time explaining the new status quo- in fact it's rammed with more action, witty humour, great character development and careful plotting than just about any other book this week. Simone's Batgirl feels truly human, not just making smart quips during fights but also fatal mistakes- she is dangerously out of practice with this whole superhero malarky, which only makes her adventures more compelling. Ardian Syaf's pencils add enormously to proceedings, with a look that is reminiscent of Jim Lee yet capable of conveying more emotion. The way he handles action sequences is superb, as there is an enormous amount going on within each panel yet things never become cluttered. His layouts are equally impressive- there is a simple clarity to the way they attract the reader's eye that perfectly compliments the flow of the action. Any fan of the Batverse should read this book- not just because it's a landmark event in the character's history but because, put simply, this is storytelling at it's best. Only time will tell how Babs' new career will progres but, as a first chapter, this issue is flawless.

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Dean likes words. He also likes pictures. One day he would like to combine them to make a beautiful picture-word baby. Follow him @deanthreadgold for daily updates on all things comic book related (and some things unrelated).