New 52 – Batgirl #1 review

So who is Batgirl this time? Well, it’s Barbara Gordon—the original Batgirl. But isn’t she paralyzed from the waist down? Not anymore! Tim Drake’s a little younger, Jim Gordon has red hair again, and Babs got her legs back. She must be especially thrilled about it since the incident that took her legs was an elseworld story to begin with! It’s a bittersweet return since we lose Oracle to the relaunch, but it’s not as if all of that never happened. No, it’s acknowledged in the story that Barbara was paralyzed and there’s even a flashback to “The Killing Joke” to fill in the un-initiated. What isn’t explained is HOW she regained the use of her lower half.

What makes Batgirl #1 interesting is the way in which it approaches Barbara’s rebooting. See, from the first page we are introduced to a villain who may or may not be a paranormal entity who seeks out those who were meant to die but escaped death. And apparently he’s not pleased about Barbara standing up from the wheel chair. It could’ve been unbearably hokey, but it’s handled well and I’m looking forward to where Gail Simone is taking the story.

A lot of Batman fans like the psychological aspects of the characters and if you’re one of them, Batgirl #1 is the book for you this month. Barbara hasn’t been out on a patrol in a very long time and her confidence is shaky. She misjudges her actions and even freezes when a gun pointed to her abdomen reminds her of the incident that took her legs all those years ago. This is a Barbara who is eager to take back her mantle but questions whether or not she can still handle the job. This is a Barbara who wants to move out of her father’s house and start a life of her own.

Of all the characters in the Bat-family I’ve seen this September it’s Barbara who I empathized with the most. I laughed as she awkwardly tried to keep up with her quirky new roommate and make friends. I believed in her during the opening home invasion scene even when she didn’t believe in herself. Barbara Gordon is the most likable character in Gotham at the moment and I can’t wait to see what happens in her life next month. This is a finely drawn, vividly colored, well written book that I highly recommend to every Bat-fan.

SCORE: 8/10