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Batgirl Vol. 1: Batgirl of Burnside Paperback – June 16, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In this soft reboot of DC's "Batgirl" series, Barbara Gordon has packed up and joined her fellow twentysomethings in Gotham's hip city of Burnside, hoping for a fresh start. Of course, peace never goes as planned for superheroes, and Batgirl once again finds herself battling a host of baddies, including an online gossipmonger with a cybernetic flash implant, anime-obsessed twin assassins, and a glittery, glamorous "evil" Batgirl impostor. But all of these villains prove mere henchmen to an omnipotent, unreachable adversary that no one saw coming. Fletcher and Stewart's take on Batgirl is certainly a departure; when she's not fighting crime as her alter ego, Barbara exhibits typical co-ed behavior such as partying, and using social media (to the point of dependence). Tarr's bold artwork brings a youthful brightness to the comic, showcasing dynamic action sequences and a diverse cast of new characters. VERDICT With its revamped style and contemporary setting, this volume is sure to draw in a wide range of new readers, though fans of Gail Simone's previous series might have trouble adjusting to this new iteration.—Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal
“Not your Daddy's Batgirl.”—IGN
“The Batgirl title at DC has maybe never been better, under the creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr.”—Nerdist
“It’s smart and chic, striking yet practical—a really good look in a medium that often puts women in outfits that look more appropriate for pinups than crime-fighters.”—Shelf Life, Entertainment Weekly
“I wish more Bat-books were as good as Batgirl. Hell, I wish more comics were as good as Batgirl. It's smart, funny, a brand-new take on a classic, and it looks absolutely, jaw-droppingly fantastic.”—Newsarama
“A whole lot of excitement and killer art.”—Comic Book Resources
Top customer reviews
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*Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside* is not a continuity reboot, but it is a TONE reboot. Since the 2011 "New 52" reboot, Barbara Gordon, back again as Batgirl, had been quite angsty and brooding. Who could blame her? She had been paralyzed, and just recovered the use of her legs.
Through much trial and fear, Babs began to reassume her life as the hero she had been, who she was meant to be. It made for some great drama and wasn't really overly done, to my opinion, but struck the right balance.
But the writers decided to go in a different direction, and make the title more fun and less brooding. Originally, Gail Simone wanted to do so, but was told no. When she was no longer with the book, DC relented with the new writers and now so we had the "Burnside" story line.
The volume begins with a fire that destroys Dinah Lance's (Black Canary) home (and coincidentally, Barbara's Batgirl gear, which was in Lance's dojo at the time). Forced to start over, Babs *really* starts over. She had just moved to an area in Gotham named Burnside, which is a trendy spot for students and young people to live. She seems to decide to create a new Batgirl costume and persona to go with her new life and outlook.
Things seem to be going well, despite a very sinister and creepy adversary in the shadows, but Babs' arrogance and carelessness are going to bite her in the backside if she isn't careful. Dinah warns her friend of this, but she doesn't listen. It might be a fatal mistake for her.
I really was uncertain what to think of this title. It seemed to start out as some strange effort to try too hard to be somehow cool or something like that. Or to show that DC cares about or is connected to youth, or whatever. I also didn't care for the new art style at all. It was so different from previous looks I was used to that it put me off. At least at first. Now it has grown on me and I like it, though I still question if it is the appropriate art style for a Batfamily title.
But there is justification for the art style, in that it shows the changes in Barbara Gordon and her life. This is a new Babs, who wanted to be less gritty and more fun. The art reflected a change in tone as well, as the title would be more "playful" and less grim.
I do think that at times in the beginning, the writers tried to shove too many trendy youth things into the mix, as if the characters were saying "we are young and trendy, look at us". It just was trying *way* too hard. Some bit more loose and laid-back of an approach might have helped.
However, despite some minor misgivings, I was quite pleased with this graphic novel in the end, and I liked the direction the writers were/are taking the character. I also found the new supporting characters, such as Frankie, Qadir, etc., enjoyable to read about.
This *Batgirl* iteration of last year, that in some ways, I have heard, continues in the *Rebirth* era, is something I think folks will enjoy.
Rating: 4/5 Stars.