Comics and Cosplay Features
Why I Love The New 52: Five Things DC Did Right

Marshall Lemon | 8 Oct 2014 12:00
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Batgirl Vol 1 The Darkest Reflection

Batgirl

When the New 52 started, one of the things I was most skeptical about was Barbara Gordon's return as Batgirl. After her paralysis in 1988's Batman: The Killing Joke, Barbara had been developed as Oracle, the wheelchair-bound computer expert who proved her disability couldn't stop her from aiding the entire superhero community. While critics have panned Killing Joke's violent treatment of Batgirl, Oracle was a fantastic silver lining that highlighted her true inner strength. Wiping out twenty years of Barbara's character development to bring back the original Batgirl felt disappointing, especially with other Batgirls available to take up the New 52 mantle. (Not to mention DC was already publishing a Batwoman New 52 title.)

Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. While I certainly miss Oracle and what she represented, the original Batgirl is a breath of fresh air to the Batman books. Barbara Gordon's smiling face and positive nature are necessities for Gotham City, especially when its primary protector leans towards the grim and dour. In crossover books, she also helps the Bat-family actually feel like a family instead of a team of rich superheroes who beat up villains as a hobby. She even keeps some of The Killing Joke's emotional consequences; in the New 52, Barbara's paralysis was temporary, but the internal damage is still a part of her personality.

If we went back to Oracle after all this, losing Batgirl would actually feel like a tragedy again. Gail Simone really helped pull off something impressive with this reboot, and it'll be exciting to see where Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher take her from here.

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection
Batgirl Vol. 2: Knightfall Descends
Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family
Batgirl Vol. 4: Wanted
Batgirl Vol. 5: Deadline (releases in Dec. 2014)

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