Thursday, December 11, 2014

Batgirl #37 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Art By: Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 10, 2014


Batgirl's back already?  It seems like just last week when I was writing about how much I hate this new take on the character, but maybe that was just me trolling message boards........ I don't know.  Seriously though I have not been a fan of the new direction for Barbara Gordon and I really think it's a slap in the face to the fans and to the character.  Instead of dedication and detective work, we have dating websites and selfies........ It's just nonsense.  So let's jump into another issue and see if I can be anymore disappointed than I already have been.  I don't want to hear about how I go in with a bad attitude and that's why I don't like it, I hope and pseudo pray every month that this title will become something I love again, so I leave my apprehensions at the cover page.  Let's check this out.

Explain It!:

Our story begins with Batgirl sitting back in a car with a bunch of what I can only describe as "Bad Girls" and we find out that the four of them just got done robbing a jewelry store.  You start to think that this new direction for Batgirl has completely gone off the rails before Batgirl finally swoops in and stops the gang of girls from molotov-ing an elderly couple because.......... that's what young people do these days when they want to be bad?  Batgirl gets her doppelganger one on one but before we can find out who she really is, you know Scooby Doo style, the girl gang creates a distraction for the fake and she gets away.

Apparently this fake Batgirl has been going around Burnside for awhile now and has been taking pictures with people, showing up at parties and now robbing places, so she's pretty much just ruining Barbara's cred.  One thing here that I'm not sure if I like or not is Qadir seems to be Batgirl's gadget inventor now.  While I normally like having someone being behind the scenes like an Alfred or a Felicity, here it seems a little odd because he's just a college kid who works in a robotics lab that does odd jobs for Batgirl on the side.  Hell he even made her a Batgirl phone with a ultra flash to blind her enemies.  So I'm kind of on the fence about Qadir, but a smart phone weapon makes me very annoyed at the world we live in today.  Since Qadir is all over that new fangled interwebs, he knows that a new art show is premiering and Batgirl's impostor might show up there because it's the hip spot for the night.  So dig this, Barbara shows up with her gal pal entourage and when they walk into the gallery of the artist Dagger Type............ No seriously, that's the name the artist has here.  Anyway, when they walk in they see that the whole show is pictures of Batgirl showing off her body.......... Not in any sexual way, it's just Batgirl posing and I bet you can guess how Barbara feels about this.

Even though I have been a big disparager of this book, I have to say that when Barbara sees one painting in particular even I felt the emotion of the piece.  After seeing all these nonsense photos of the faux Batgirl, we walk up to a painting of Batgirl in a wheelchair and my heart just sunk in my chest and I felt completely empty...... Then I think about what Barbara must be feeling.  This person knows who Batgirl is and they're totally toying with her.  

Barbara figures out that most of the photos of the faker Batgirl are actually her posing using sign language and Barbara figures out that the impostor wants to meet her below Burnside Bridge at 10PM.  Well this is totally a trap, but what is our Gotham Guardian supposed to do, not show up?  After showing up and beating the hell out the faker's henchwomen, the two Batgirls battle it out and we discover that the impostor is actually........... a guy.  Dagger Type is the Batgirl impersonator and he's suckling on the tit of Batgirl's fame.  He figures if Batgirl isn't soaking in all the attention than he might as well be.  After getting over the shock that a man is impersonating her and I guess also that a man has her body type, Barbara almost eats it when Dagger pulls out a gun and she's forced to fall into the river below.  So now Dagger thinks he's killed Batgirl but even though she's still alive, she lost her cowl and can't get Qadir to make her a new one.  So it looks like Batgirl is out of commission for the rest of the action.

In the end Barbara shows up to Dagger Type's Batgirl Grand Exposure where he tries to play it off that he's always been Batgirl and he does this to a giant fucking crowd of people.  Well nobody buys it and before he can start shooting people for not giving him the love he thinks he deserves, Barbara blinds him with her Batgirl phone and proceeds to take the villain down.  We find out that he was hired to paint the wheelchair painting so it looks like the real person behind Barbara's torment is still out there and we close this issue with Barbara owning her image by............... By Black Canary taking a picture of her so that she can put it online...........  We were doing so well book and then you had to go and do something stupid like that.

Here we are again with the blatant referencing of teen lingo and social media that I really feel like the book is trying to dumb itself and the readers down by using these as a way to tell a story instead of actually coming up with something decent.  We have playlists sitting in the upper right corner so we know what the characters are listening to and when Batgirl needs to do something she achieves it through texts, phone cameras, social media, and selfies.  It's just aggravating to think that this is what is considered a good female role model and that this book is supposed to represent what people in their early twenties act like...................... If you act like this, you're dead to me.  But for everything that I've ever bitched about with this new direction for Batgirl, I do have to say that seeing the painting of Batgirl in the wheelchair was one of the most powerful things I've seen and felt from this entire series.  It was just a beautifully drawn piece and I don't think that I'll be able to stop thinking about it for awhile.  So for what it's worth from someone who hasn't liked anything that this creative team has really done to this character....... Bravo.  

Bits and Pieces:

I continue to wonder what anyone can see and enjoy with this direction of Batgirl.  I don't know if I'm just too old to get it or if I'm too stuck in my ways and just want what I know because I don't think I'll ever be able to get into this style of the book.  It's just become a girl in a cowl that does stuff online and that's not a superhero to me.  I do have to say that this issue did have one of the most powerful panels in any issue of Batgirl I've ever seen and I have to give the creators credit where it's due, but even being haunted by that image (in a good way), it doesn't make this book good.



  1. I liked this new direction quite a bit and frankly, I don't mind all of this hipsterism or whatever its called. It's so over the top, flashy, and ridiculous that it works in my mind, not something to take serious in the slightest but something to laugh at.

    Now, if this hipsterism or whatever was played more serious and straight, like say Young Avengers or The Wicked + The Divine, this would be far more irritating. But it's not. It's just completely out there and having fun with how silly & stupid the modern era of pop culture really is. That's why can look past this stuff and how I interpret everything here.

    I also think the smartphone is actually kind of clever. It's a weapon hidden in plain sight that she can easily carry on her and no one would suspect. Heck, even if it has the bat logo on it, people would just pass it off as a custom made back piece for a phone.

    1. We just have so few female lead books that I don't like the idea of making one of the most popular into something to laugh at. Barbara Gordon was a strong independent woman that was struggling to be on her own and figure out where she belonged in the world after she miraculously recovered from her injuries and now she's been turned into a parody. It's just not something that seems right to me. If it is any consolation, I have thought that each of the issues have gotten stronger from when it started.

    2. I actually see both of your points. I get what your saying Eric, Batgirl is a strong independent heroine, but she can also be this because shes also still a young woman who could still have a life under her cowl.. The way I see this new direction is like the Adam West Batman. That Batman is ridculous and corny compared to the batman from say TAS, but we still like him. The Bat-family in all honesty gets kinda bland to me when it gets to dark and serious all the time, so its kinda nice to have these breaths of fresh air of the ridiculous that this new direction and Batman 66 provides.

  2. I liked this issue and this is coming from a huge Simone run fan

  3. I felt, as a fan of Simone's run, to be left behind when the new creative team began and I promptly dropped this book after issue #35. Also, it seems that I am outside of the demographics of this new book and that now it is geared towards the Young Adult genre with a dash of Marvel like humor. Taste is subjective and at the end of the day, I prefer less comedy in a Bat family book, (aside from witty remarks made by Alfred, Dick, Selina, ect) & more detective work, crime noir and darkness. As a kid (and still today) I absolutely hated Adam West's campy Batman show for example, and it was TAS the finally made me take Batman as a serious character. All this aside, I still think that if DC wanted to branch out and get younger readers or those who prefer comedy, they should have made new titles (like Gotham Academy) or maybe a non-continuity Batgirl book; like Lil' Gotham or Batman '66, but for teenagers. I have to agree with the tone of the reviews on Weird Science for the new Batgirl team and will continue to see what they have to say about future issues but I won't be spending my money on a Deadpool/Harley Quinn like Batgirl.

    1. I'm still trying to figure out what they are going for. The look is certainly feels like they are trying to get the younger set, along with the social media stuff. But...Barbara is so far off from being a good superhero and a good person that it shocks me that people are not only liking this book, but defending it with frothy mouthed fervor. Eric does the reviews of Batgirl here and has been called so many names because he doesn't like the new direction. I can't figure out the loyalty to a creative team only a few issue into their run and who changed a beloved character. I could see if Simone's run was horrible and Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr were the saviors of everything Batgirl, but a lot of people loved Simone's run. I just don't get it.

    2. First of all, insulting a reviewer because he disagrees with your subjective liking of a fictional character and/or storyline is completely uncalled for. Just give the reasons you like or don't like the book, without resorting to name calling. As for this new direction for Batgirl, I definitely feel that DC is branching out to get teens or people who prefer a bit more humor in their superhero titles and I say more power to them. The more the merrier and higher profits; fine. But I do feel that they left fans of Simone's run (as well as the characterization of Barbara Gordon since the beginning of the new 52 reboot), out to dry. Just reading what Eric has to say about Batgirl and the way she's written, makes me glad I dropped this title. It seems that they turned a well written superhero/crime noir/detective book into a bad reality TV show. Just want to say thanks for the reviews, Jim & Eric; just sorry you have to review titles like this or stuff like Ann Nocenti's Catwoman or Klarion.