Volume 1: The Darkest Reflection
Collecting Issues #1-6, this first NEW 52 Batgirl volume shows you the wonderful stories that Gail Simone scribes. Seeing as this volume came out a year ago this review will be SPOILER HEAVY!!!
People might be wondering WHY TFG1Mike are you just NOW getting to BG Volume 1….. well I started in on my comics reading with Batman #13. I’ve read Batman, Batgirl, and Nightwing since then. I hadn’t had the funds to procure BG Volume 1 til now. Boy am I glad I did! I’ve always been a fan of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. I first became a fan of Batgirl with the DCAU cartoons, and soon after wanted to see more of the character. I know I still need to read The Killing Joke, to see just how Babs got shot etc etc… however I’m loving what Gail Simone is doing with the character. Even though Melissa Gilbert and Mary Kay Bergman voiced Batgirl very well. I’ve always loved the Tara Strong version the most for the young Batgirl. As far as the old Barbara Gordon we had Stockard Channing in the Batman Beyond animated series, then in Return of the Joker we got Angie Harmon! I liked the Stockard voice, but the Angie Harmon voice is my favorite hands down. Whenever I think of or read old Barbara I think of Angie Harmon’s voice.
I have to say one other thing about the trades that DC does, before I get to my thoughts on the writing and art. I have no damn idea why they do not have Volume 1 include the #0 issue BEFORE issue #1. Instead they have the #0 issue collected in the Volume 2 trade coming later this year. WHAT THE HELL….. WHY the…..hell do they do this??????? To me it makes no sense, but on with the review!
Gail Simone is just awesome!!! She really is. Seeing the new 52 beginnings of Batgirl was just amazing. It gives me excellent perspective on where she is now at nearly issue #23. Most people in the know for comics history have heard about this one book entitled “The Killing Joke” SPOILERS!!!!!! This is where The Joker shoots and permanently injures Barbara Gordon, so much so that she can no longer become Batgirl, and takes on a new identity as Oracle. Well somehow… I have no idea how since as of this writing I’ve not read Batgirl #0… She has regained the use of her legs, and in issue #1 she is out there as Batgirl again. I love how Gail Simone writes, reading her work is such a pleasure. Throughout these six issues there is so much going on in Barbara’s life.
Her main villain here is the Mirror, who is a former military man, that couldn’t save his family from certain death. This leads him down a path of thinking that there are no miracles, and because he couldn’t have his miracle… no one can ever have a miracle ever again. He has a list of people whom he will be killing. Batgirl is on that list, and she must find out why he is doing all this. Also in these first six issues Nightwing and Batman appear in guest starring roles.
I love the fact of character crossovers, especially the trifecta of Batman, Batgirl, and Nightwing. Between Gail Simone and Kyle Higgins I’m set with my favorite bat characters being handled properly!!! The other thing that happens in this first volume is that apparently Barbara’s mother (also named Barbara) has returned…. what the…..? OK Stop The Presses!!! I never knew Gordon’s wife was also named Barbara…? This is just weird to me. It does not detract from the stories I’m reading, but I wish they’d named his wife something else. Yes I know fathers and sons are named after each other, as are mothers and daughters at times. however this for me would have only worked if Jim Gordon’s wife stayed dead, and they weren’t just divorced. OK rant over, now the fact that Babs’s mom is alive was kinda shocking to read.
This presents a whole new set of problems for Barbara as Batgirl, and just trying to come to terms with being back on her feet. (Pun intended) After dealing with the Mirror and her mother, Batgirl now has to go up against Batman!
The art is done by Ardian Syak and Vincente Cifuentes, along with Adam Hughes on the collection and main series covers. I freakin’ love the covers for Batgirl. They are just simply amazing!!! The art is very well done. I know I’ve said in my current reviews of issues 21 and 22, that I wasn’t too sure about the inconsistency of constantly charging artists, but here it’s superb work. Ardian does an amazing job capturing the look of all the characters, and the backgrounds are amazing.
There were no strange suit designs, or characters being off model, or not looking how I think they should look. The story drove the art and vice versa. It is a damn well put together set of 6 issues. I love seeing the covers without the info on them, as we get with the single issues. I do also enjoy that part when reading single issues.
Overall I throughly enjoyed reading Batgirl Volume 1. I am so stoked for the TPB version of Volume 2 to hit stores in October! If you are a Barbara Gordon/Batgirl fan you should definitely pick this up! I’m so stoked to see where Gail Simone takes Batgirl from here, and in the future.