Ahem. Anyway. Batgirl. Right.
|Via Paste Magazine|
Cover Art by Cameron Stewart
|Via Comics Alliance|
|Via The Word of the Nerd|
And this doesn't even include her first "villain!" I think that Stewart and Fletcher took a page from Faction's Hawkeye by choosing a more realistic (for comic books, anyway) adversary than a supervillain with delusions of grandeur. Riot Black (probably not his real name) is a dude straight out of my worst disco-douche nightmares.
|Credit to Babs Tarr and DC Comics|
Also, is that Sailor Moon's transformation pen tattooed on his side???
The new Batgirl definitely isn't for everyone, obviously, since no comic can really be universally loved (I'm one of the apparently rare people who doesn't really care for The Walking Dead, neither the print nor live action versions), but a lot of the criticism is coming from long-time fans of the series. There is merit in some of their points: it's almost as if a 21-year-old tech-savvy hipster vomited all over this first issue, and artistically and thematically, it doesn't match the tones of the other books in the Batman universe. Others prefer Babs' old costume, featured below, to the new purple one that's at the top of this post.
|Via Comic Vine|
As far as the tone goes, I like that it's so different from the other Bat books. It's an issue that I have with large comic book universes, because there's this assumption that they can't exist separately from each other, giving each titular character room to grow while managing to tell the story of multiple facets of their shared world. Burnside is a college town, a suburb of sorts that doesn't have the same type of violent crime that Gotham proper has. An incredibly dark approach would seem forced and probably would have caused me to completely drop the book from my reading list (I've got Men of Wrath, Birthright, Wytches, and plenty more to fulfill my need for harsh themes, and anyway, I think Batman has that plenty covered.). The entire world surrounding Gotham can't be so bleak that even just one comic title doesn't have permission to be that one bright spot, right?
|Via Batman News|
While the first issue wasn't perfect - um, so the dude expecting a cute redhead to meet him can't figure out that the masked redhead is that very same woman? okay, then - it bodes very well for the series as a whole. The writers have a very clear idea about what they want to do with Barbara and know exactly who they want to attract. However, despite Batgirl being written for a younger audience, I encourage any older fans of Barbara Gordon to give it a chance. A lot of times, all-ages comics (or young adult, or children's) are scoffed at because they are deemed lesser than their adult-themed complements - less mature, less topical, less useful. This bleeds over (and into) the literary world, as adults who read and enjoy young adult fiction are mocked because they aren't reading a "more serious" book. But there is freedom writing for and about younger people; it seems that you can explore certain topics - um, poverty and violence in The Hunger Games, anyone? - that seem that much more terrifying if they are experienced by children or young adults. It can be a more effective approach than taking a thirty-something and placing them in a death match. I'm not saying that Batgirl is a literary masterpiece, by any means, and if you read it and it's not your thing, that's perfectly fine. There won't be any judgment coming from me. But to dismiss it as simple tripe, unworthy of your time or attention, is shortsighted, and you may miss out on what is quite possibly one of the most fun books to come out in a while. And to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a little lighthearted fun on your pull list.