DC Comics’ decision to end Stephanie Brown‘s days as Batgirl reinstating Barbara Gordon as the character with the launch of the New 52 never sat right with me. First, despite loving writer Gail Simone‘s work, I don’t want a gritty Batgirl comic. Second, Stephanie brought a youthful energy to the character that had been lacking for years. And third, Barbara Gordon (handicap and all) is a far more interesting character as Oracle rather than a role she outgrew years ago (long before being confined to a wheelchair).
The comic gets a new direction with Batgirl #35 that effectively de-ages the character and creates a more lighthearted world for her to live. Throw in a kick-ass new low-tech costume, a guest-appearance from Black Canary, and Babs fighting the mother of all hangovers to recover her stolen property, and the creative team of writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, and artist Babs Tarr, sell me on the concept fairly early. Do I still wish it was Steph under the cowl and Babs behind the computer? Absolutely, but at least this version of Batgirl has a little of her youthful energy and a slightly less dingy world to explore. Worth a look.
The latest adventure set in the world of the 60’s Batman television show pits Batman and Robin against The Sandman who puts all of Gotham City into a highly suggestive sleep to complete the largest robbery the city has ever seen. After catching the Dynamic Duo in his trap as well the villain attempts to pry the location out the Batcave out of them by controlling Batman’s dreams (which include a couple of really cool panels by artist Ruben Procopio).
Despite nearly giving away the secret location of the Batcave (and with it his secret identity), Batman eventually realizes and takes control of the dream allow the heroes to wake-up and put the villain to sleep (so to speak). The Sandman falls very much into the D-list category of Bat-villains, but the tale is fun and certainly fits the style of the comic.
The issue also includes the first appearance of Batgirl in a back-up story, featuring some fun art by Colleen Ann Coover, when she takes on the Eartha Kitt Catwoman who attempts to rob the Gotham Museum of the priceless Tiger Topaz. Worth a look.
With the fate of the entire universe at stake Alanna Strange evacuates all life on the planet Earth and gathers its greatest warriors to stand with Hawkgirl against the oncoming force of Sinestra and her legion of Black Lanterns. Although I’m not the biggest fan of the DC’s original Black Lanern arc, writer Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Justin Gray offer their own version of events featuring lots of action.
To help them survive, Power Girl, Supergirl, Batgirl, Robin, Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, Steel, and Strange are all gifted white rings by Metra. Even with the power boost the group of heroines still eventually fall to the never-ending onslaught of death causing the New God herself to get involved and create a new stalemate between life and death with the creation of a new crisis.
Things fall apart for me in the final pages where Metra gets directly involved. I would have preferred the ladies to win the day on their own but the (unsubtle) Motherbox metaphor works okay and sets up new possibilities (albeit for a comic whose days appear to be numbered). Worth a look.
Batman and Robin continues to cover an out-of-control Batman dealing with the death of Damian we aren’t seeing much of in the other Bat-titles. The latest issue brings in Batgirl, who has removed the Bat-emblem from her costume, to try and talk some sense into Batman whose ice-cold demeanor and brutality has begun to scare everyone, even her.
The first-half of the comic is more about Batgirl than Batman. We even get a full page of Barbara working through trying to tell her father what went wrong with James Jr. without having the courage to actually speak to him. Witnessing the ruthlessness of Batman taking down an group of armed robbers, Batgirl decides to confront Batman in the Batcave and try one more time to talk some sense into the man.
The confrontation between Batgirl and Batman in the cave is interesting, but isn’t hardly the tact someone as smart as Barbara would use. I do like her offer of wearing the Robin costume, but its stuck in the middle of an out-of-control argument that has no hope of reaching Batman. Hit-and-Miss.
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DC Comics has announced their San Diego Comic-Con exclusives which include Super Best Friends Forever Action Figures. If you’re planning on attending Comic-Con, and can find them, all three of the 6in. figures can be yours for the combined low, low price of $50.
The latest issue of Ame-Comi Girls concludes the Brainiac arc as Wonder Woman, Power Girl, the Flash, Steel, Catwoman, Batgirl, and Robin work with Duela, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman to stop Brainiac’s attempt to drain all the intelligence from the planet Earth.
There’s plenty of action in the first-half of the latest issue as the second-half of the comic deals with the fallout of the women defeating Braniac and the logistical problems of trying to form some kind of Justice League.
There are some interesting ideas in the later-half of the comic dealing with vigilantes working with the government (especially when two of them are minors), but (like the final few pages of the Braniac story involving Power Girl nearly coming to blows with Wonder Woman while trying to help a poisoned Supergirl) the writing seems rushed with panels, or even whole pages, missing. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that two-issues worth of story were crammed into this one book. Hit-and-Miss.
The all-new Ame-Comi Girls series picks up with the last one left off with Earth’s heroes (or to be more specific the all female Ame-Comi versions of them) united to stop Braniac‘s attack on Earth. As Wonder Woman battles a Supergirl corrupted by the influence of the machine that destroyed her home world, Batgirl tries to foil Braniac’s schemes with nothing more than her wits and smart phone.
After realizing Braniac’s plans to destroy the planet the villainesses join the heroes in fighting off the robotic soldiers and trying (unsuccessfully) to destroy the machines which have risen from deep in the Earth from transferring all human knowledge off-world into Brainiac. Meahwile, at the center of the Earth the right fight takes place as Power Girl, after convincing the mechanical beings living in the Earth’s core to help, takes on Braniac one-on-one.
Although Brainiac’s master plan seems more than a little ridiculous (even by Silver Age standards) this first issue is full of action and some humorous moments (such as Duela‘s amusement of Wonder Woman’s attempt to stab every problem into submission). Worth a look.
I will admit the entire idea of Ame-Comi Girls is goofy as hell, and that’s part of the charm. One thing in short supply since DC Comics launched their New 52 is accepting and embracing the fact that comics are supposed to be fun. From the digital comics that were based on the anime-inspired figures from DC Collectibles, the Ame-Comi version of the DCU is female-centric, and in this issue features Batgirl and Robin facing off against Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and the villainous Duela Dent.
The writing isn’t great, although it’s better that many of the New 52 books from the past year, but one thing it delivers, oddly enough given its set-up, is easily recognizable characters. We get the basic archetypes for Batgirl, Poison Ivy, and (the original version) of Harley Quinn. Catwoman seems to be based off a more current interpretation, and I would have preferred by Robin to be blonde and named Stephanie Brown, but I’ll take what I can get.
The comic’s major weakness is its choice of resurrected best forgotten C-list character in Duela Dent. That said, there’s still plenty of fun to be had, and quite a bit of story jammed within the pages of the comic. Worth a look.
It takes more than half the issue but Batgirl finally joins the team. The addition of Batgil may mean good things for the future of the comic but it doesn’t do much to help out here as the story is still stuck in neutral with invisible ninja assassins and super-secret scientists planting bombs in peoples heads.
Birds of Prey is a comic I want to like but now for four months it’s given me little reason to do so. The addition of Batgirl isn’t the only change that needs to be made on this title. We still know next to nothing about Starling, Katana remains a one-note character, and I don’t see how Babs sticks around for a team that includes Poison Ivy as one of its members.
The good news is Batgirl works well here, especially with Black Canary. It’s good to see the Babs/Dinah team back together. Now if we can just figure out a way to get Zinda Blake and the Huntress to replace Poison Ivy and Katana we might, might have something. Hit-and-Miss.