Of all the comics slated for the DC Reboot Barbara Gordon‘s return as Batgirl created the most heated debate. DC was cancelling Stephanie Brown‘s popular version of the character in favor of putting Barbara back in the Batsuit for the first time since 1988 when the character was paralyzed by the Joker in Alan Moore‘s Batman: The Killing Joke.
Forgetting for the second that this first issue is far inferior to Bryan Q. Miller’s stellar Batgirl run, and the debate whether or not Barbara Gordon is a more intriguing character as Oracle rather than Batgirl (the answer is Oracle, by the way), this first issue has a great many problems.
I love writer Gail Simone, I’d just rather see her penning Secret Six. The writing her feels rushed, Barbara Gordon’s paralysis is fixed by a “miracle” off-panel, and her time as Oracle isn’t even hinted at (did it even occur in this vesrion of the DCU?). The villain of the piece (who basically appears to be some guy who has seen Final Destination way, way too many times) is also troubling. And don’t even get me started on the costume that looks like someone spray-painted Witchblade.
The comic ends with Barbara freezing when Mirror points a gun at her midsection. Okay, that makes sense; Barbara is still carrying around the trauma of the attack. What doesn’t, however, is the the reaction by a Gotham cop who should have more than her fair share of experiences seeing people freeze in action (especially somewhere like Gotham City!).
Of all the new #1’s Batgirl had the most to prove out of the gate, and it’s the most disappointing (at least so far). I’m willing to give Gail Simone some time to try and work this version of Babs into the new DCU, but this is an inauspicious start. Pass.