BATGIRL VOL 01: THE BATGIRL OF BURNSIDE
Writers: Cameron Stewart & Brendan Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr w/ Cameron Stewart
Colorist: Maris Wicks
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Publisher: DC Comics
Ok first off, I have to say that I liked this story a lot more than I thought I would. I've always been a huge fan of Barbara Gordon, especially during her years as Oracle. When DC decided to give her the use of her legs again when they rebooted the DC line for "New52", I thought it kind of did a disservice to the character. I mean here we had one of the most important characters in the DCU in a wheelchair, not letting her disability become a liability. Instead she used her brains to become someone even stronger. But I have to say that after reading this volume, it doesn't bother me quite as much anymore. They still showcase her brains over brawn and that is what makes her such a special character.
The story starts off with Barbara looking for a fresh start, so she packs her bags and head to Burnside, considered Gotham's coolest neighborhood. It has a very hipster/modern vibe to it which gives this book a unique charm. The book quickly introduces us to the supporting cast, including her roommate Frankie who seems like the perfect foil to Barbara. But an important person shows back up in Babs life, Dinah/Black Canary. If you know anything about these two characters you know their relationship goes wayyyyy back. So it was cool to see her so early in the book. The only problem is Babs was storing her costume at Dinah's safe house, which burned down in a fire. It was the catalyst for her to make a new costume.
She quickly becomes Gotham's first viral vigilante and starts trending all over social media. It was a really interesting way to present this new chapter in Babs life and really helped solidify this modern take on being a vigilante. But the fame didn't come with out it's setbacks. Her new found fame started attracting a new wave of enemies who wanted a little taste of fame also. From a 2 girl bike gang to an imposter dressing up like Batgirl, the villains were lighthearted and fun adversaries to watch her take down.
But it isn't all vigilantism going on, she also has to juggle college and a new group of friends. The most interesting thing was the use of her photographic memory. I don't remember seeing that ever touched on before in past stories but I think it added a really cool aspect to her character.
Through it all she has her ups and downs with Dinah, which lead to Dinah joining a band. This is the catalyst for the Black Canary series that came out shortly after this arc. The bond between these two is not something that can be easily broken. In the end Dinah comes to Babs aid to help take down the person that has used her stolen laptop against her.
The story by Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher was phenomenal. I had no expectations going into this and was completely blown away. It's not always easy to take a character that's been around for such a long time and make them feel fresh and new, but these two did a fantastic job.
But the thing that tied this whole thing together for me was Babs Tarr. Her art was the PERFECT compliment to this story. It has such a youthful vibe to it and captures today's generation perfectly. Not to mention her re-designs of Batgirl and the rest of the cast. I seriously can't say enough how much I love her style. Plus with a name like Babs, she was born to do this book.
Overall, this book is definitely a book I recommend to all Barbara Gordon/Batgirl fans. It stays just enough out of the regular DC books to stand on its own. While I'm not sure how much of these events carry over into the new DC era, it doesn't take away how great it is. This was a solid first volume and I can't wait to check out the next one.