I still miss Stephanie Brown, I’ll freely admit that. Of all the comics that went away in favor of DC’s New 52 Bryan Q. Miller‘s Batgirl was the most consistent and showed promise to get even better with time.
Stephanie was a Barbara Gordon Batgirl for a new generation. Strong, opinionated, quirky, intelligent, kick-ass, and always wearing her heart on her sleeve. Why would we need Babs back in the Batsuit when Steph was honoring her so well?
I also miss Oracle, and her partnership with Black Canary, Huntress, Zinda Blake, and the rest of the Birds of Prey. It’s in her years in the wheelchair, not before, that Barbara became a real fleshed out character that was one of the most inspiring in all of comics.
Barbara Gordon’s return as Batgirl has been underwhelming, even with Gail Simone at the helm. The latest issue sees Batgirl go toe-to-toe with Nightwing, and, if only for a moment, we see what this comic could be is Simone wasn’t so intent on isolating Babs from the rest of the Bat-Family.
Sadly, Batgirl pushes Nightwing away in the final pages. This means all of the comic’s best moments (the fightin’ and flirting between the characters, the corny jokes, the adolescent flashbacks, and the relationship between two characters who grew up as vigilante sidekicks together) won’t be repeated. Issue #3 is definitely worth picking up, but only because it gives us everything the previous, and apparently upcoming issues, do not.
Barbara wants to be on her own. Although that’s a strong message for a female character in her own book to make it doesn’t do the comic or the character any favors. For decades Babs has proven she can build and nurture relationships that originally seemed like a bad idea. Isolating her like Batman may be a nice feminist message but it takes yet another piece of a character, already stripped of far too much, away.
It’s not the character I want to see in the role, or the type of stories I want to read, but I wish Gail Simone luck on this Batgirl. I’m not sorry I picked up this issue but I have a feeling it might be a long time before I buy another.