Review | Batgirl #1

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Ardian Syaf

As a longtime Oracle fan, I was admittedly apprehensive about Barbara Gordon's return to the cowl essentially erasing TOC's Comics Shopher history as a hacker. But at least we have Gail Simone, a writer who knows Barbara as well as or better than anyone else, to ease the transition. We learn that The Killing Joke still happened in the new universe (penciller Ardian Syaf becomes the latest artist to pay homage to Brian Bolland's original rendering of the Joker shooting Barbara), but here she eventually recovered from her paralysis. "For three years, I couldn't move or feel my legs," she says in voiceover. "Then a miracle happened." Mmmkay.

As the new series kicks off, Barbara's tentatively returning to her old lives—moving out of Jim Gordon's house and in with a quirky roommate and reembarking on her adventures as Batgirl, even while the trauma of her shooting still follows her in the field. Simone gets the wit and warmth of Barbara's voice, of course, managing to subtly de-age her outlook without sounding like an episode of Glee. Simone sets up an ongoing story with a villain who's tracking down and murdering people who cheated death, Final Destination–style—and guess which redheaded crimefighter is on his list? Syaf's art is terrific, making great use of multiple perspectives and playful panel designs. I'm on board for issue #2.

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