Thursday, December 03, 2015

Reader's Diary #1222- Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher (Writers), Babs Tarr (Artist): Batgirl of Burnside, Vol. 1

Well this was a pleasant surprise. I'm starting to think about by end of year rankings and Batgirl of Burnside easily just found its way into my top 10 comics and graphic novels.

I wasn't, of course, dreading reading it but I also wasn't holding out for anything that hit on all the right levels for me as much as this. I'm not much of a Batman fan, nor DC at all really, and the only thing I'd heard about Batgirl of Burnside beforehand, while positive, focused primarily on Batgirl's new outfit. (The outfit does merit mention: it's cool and functional at the same time, which is a rare combination for female superheroes in particular.)

The action's fast-paced, featuring an assortment of new villains, and while there are occasional dark moments it's nowhere as heavy-handed about it like Batman comics, and even balances it out with humour (do they think this is Marvel???). Further setting Batgirl apart from Batman, she's got some money issues, she's young, and just all around awesome; flawed at times but still immensely likable. Even greater, the way the writers tackle previous incarnations of Batgirl is nothing short of brilliant, even taking on the infamous paralyzation of Batgirl at the hands of the Joker back in 1988's The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. This is how a reboot should be done.

Batgirl also feels so wonderfully progressive. There's diversity everywhere (as in real life), but it's never a big deal. Just accepted— as it should be. Plus, Batgirl is smart and kicks ass, but she's not afraid to have fun.

But my absolute favourite thing about the book is the world creation. It's a place and generation heavily involved in social media and the writers and Tarr intertwine text, fictional (but totally believable) logos, (fake) music references, and the end result is a world that is not only fascinating but feels simultaneously real and like a satirical take on our own.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't call attention to the variant covers at the end. I'm normally not a fan. I've too often seen them used as an excuse to publish more offensive versions of characters and then the publishers absolve themselves of responsibility because they're somehow not "official" but after seeing the Batgirl/ Purple Rain variant, it makes it all worth it.

1 comment:

Adriana @ BooksOnHerMind said...

When I think about it all I have really heard about this reboot is her new outfit.
Hmm.. I guess Marvel is the funnier one of the two. I never expected this Batgirl to be dark based on the cover alone. It's kind of weird that she's in a new city right? I feel like she should be in Gotham.
I don't mind if it feels light as long as Barbara is fighting crime.
I don't know about social media being heavily placed in the story although I do like that her story is modernized in some ways. I'm sure I'll like it either way. I'm excited to read it very soon hopefully.