Batgirl and other graphic novels

One of the oddest decisions in DC’s reboot was turning Barbara Gordon from Oracle, hacker supreme, back into Batgirl.
For non-comics buffs, Babs, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, started as Batgirl in the 1960s. After getting shot by the Joker in The Killing Joke, severing her spine, she eventually re-emerged as Oracle. She was, on the whole, a more interesting character that way, as well as a disabled hero whose disability doesn’t define her (though according to Cinema of Isolation, “disabled computer whiz” is a stereotype too [and of course, as I’m fully abled, I can’t speak for disabled comics readers on Oracle’s merits]). Nevertheless, publisher fiat dictated that she become Batgirl again in the reboot, presumably the fixation (as noted at the first link) on the Silver Age as the moment comics were perfected. It’s the same logic by which publisher Dan Didio advocated killing Nightwing on the grounds if Dick Grayson isn’t Robin, he isn’t interesting (it’s hard to see what Batgirl brings to the table Nightwing doesn’t, other than her gender).
Having seen her first reboot adventures collected in BATGIRL: Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf doesn’t change my views. The story of Babs back in her costume after a miracle cure (which I imagine gets explained later in the series) and fighting the despairing Reflection is entertaining (Simone’s an excellent writer) but it’s nothing so breathtaking we needed a reboot (Cassandra Cain, the pre-boot Batgirl could have done it just as well). Thumbs down.
POWERS: Who Killed Retro Girl? by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming has cops in a world of super-heroes investigating the eponymous murder. This isn’t bad (it’s what put Bendis on the map, I believe, leading to his later Marvel work) but it’s not up to the similar concepts in DC’s GCPD—a good cop story, but not a standout.
ASTONISHING THOR by Robert Rodi and Mike Choi has Thor struggling to avert a clash between Ego, the Living Planet and the alien Collector (whose collection includes the planet’s brother Alter Ego), complicated by schemes of both the cosmic, conniving Stranger and Zephyr, an elemental Thor had a one-night stand with years ago. Quite entertaining.
I don’t think I’m the target audience for SPIDERMAN LOVES MARY JANE: Sophomore Jinx by Terry Moore and Craig Rousseau, but the story of MJ coping with sophomore year teachers and friends was nicely executed. This shy insecure MJ seems light-years from the canonical version, though.
THE ETERNAL SMILE by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim is a collection of fantasy stories about a Prince who realizes he’s living in a dreamworld,a cartoon character rebelling against his creator and the female victim of an email scam. Like American-Born Chinese, entertaining but not overwhelming.
IRREDEEMABLE Vol. 6 by Mark Waid and Peter Krause takes place in the aftermath of the crazed Plutonian’s defeat, as the Plutonian retreats into a fantasy where everything is okay, and the Paradigm continues to self-destruct as Charybdis’ delusions of grandeur grow. Good, as usual.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Reading

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.