When Batgirl was announced and we learned that Babs was back in the cape instead of her wheelchair, I noticed plenty of mixed reactions. Oracle is an admittedly strong character, really perfect. So why would they completely remove her from existence and take her back to being Batgirl?
I was pretty excited about it, simply because it was a totally unexpected move that could go either way. I wanted to see what a writer would do with Babs, and Gail Simone is a pretty obvious fit for the job. In the first few issues, she introduces Batgirl as having major survivor's guilt. She's physically able and she loves being out on the streets, but she still has nightmares and she still feels ill at ease.
The first major adversary she faces in the first few issues is Mirror, who has some pretty major survivor's guilt of his own.
The first arc of the new Batgirl comic focuses mostly on the inside: Babs survived when she shouldn't have, and she's a little bit anxious, and more than a little bit paranoid. She decides to get back out on the job though, and takes the baddies on head-first. One of her trails leads her to a special adversary, though. Mirror enters the scene, and she finds out he's got a list of names that need to be eliminated.
Eventually, we find out that not only is Barbara on the list, but the whole reason for it is because Mirror feels so badly about surviving his family in a horrible car bomb incident that he has deigned nobody should have such miracles. Batgirl has a few unsuccessful run-ins with him and eventually figures out, being the proper genius that she is, how she could defeat him without getting killed. Issues 1-4 are a neatly wrapped package that give you some character background, setting for the story, and some swift baddie butt-kicking.
So far, besides Gail Simone's writing, my favorite thing about picking up the next issue of Batgirl is looking at the cover art byAdam Hughes. They just have so much personality, and I like the style. I love that, though hard lines have their place in his pieces, he doesn't rely on them for all the details. The splashes of color easily stand out without being highlighted in bold. Check out more of his work at this official site as well as his DeviantArt page. I'd post up some of his artwork here, but they aren't authorized for re-posting. So click, click, click.
Once we get in between the covers, you've got the work of Ardian Syaf (pencils), Vicente Cifuentes (ink), and Ulises Arreola (colors) in terms of the artwork. It all comes together nicely, but it's definitely the colors that do it for me overall, more than the rest. Batgirl is always the stand-out in every panel she's featured with her bright hair and bold costume. I should also mention that I like the choices with lettering (credit: Dave Sharpe) - making Batgirl's inner thoughts come up in black and purple captions and, of course, making the flow of speech easy to follow and understand. The bat symbol in Batgirl's thoughts are a fun touch.
For now, I'm definitely enjoying Batgirl. We get a little cliffhanger at the end of issue #4 (her mother shows up, shortly after Babs reveals the woman had walked out on her and her father back when she was 12), and that was my cue to write this up before I moved on. When I see a break in the story again, I'll be sure to write up another post with my thoughts until I'm all caught up.
Check out the first hardback for the series featuring issues 1 through 6 over at Amazon: