I have been a massive fan of Batgirl since I discovered Gail Simone’s take on her when DC released the New 52. The one thing I LOVED about that Batgirl run, was that you got to get in her head and see what she was thinking. Supposedly, Simone’s run on Batgirl was too dark for the audience DC was trying to reach. Batgirl was then handed to a new team of people who transitioned her to Burnside with the goal of making the character lighter. We got a little of her thought process, but not much. The new team on Batgirl did accomplish their goal of making the character much lighter and more relatable to a younger audience. However, I preferred Simone’s take on the character because she was working through PTSD and was more relatable to where I was in life. Batgirl has since been handed to a new team so I waited until I had five issues to give the story and the team’s new take on the character a chance. Batgirl is also known as Barbara Gordon.
The story arc makes it clear from the beginning that Batgirl is not in Burnside. Barbara is traveling around Asia on a much needed break because she was under too much pressure in Burnside. Batgirl’s first stop is Japan, to meet the legendary superhero Fruitbat who has been saving people there for a long time. While in Japan, Batgirl meets an old childhood friend named Kai and they reconnect. Kai seems excited about getting to see her again and while Barbara is excited, she feels like he is hiding something and could potentially be up to some shady business. This is a superhero comic, so of course Barbara finds a mysterious drug ring and has to stop it. The story is resolved during the fifth issue and ends with Barbara heading back to Burnside.
I was hesitant about reading this arc when it became clear the writers were really trying to pull Batgirl out of Burnside. The writing team who wrote those issues did a good job; and it felt like a let down when she headed back there at the end of the fifth issue. I didn’t understand the point of taking her out of Burnside only to direct her back in the end. I appreciate that the writer fell back on classic Batgirl legend and she was able to defeat the villain by relying on her brains and not just her fists. The art in the arc was my least favorite of the three differing Batgirl teams I’ve read. The graphics were attempting to be edgy but I felt like it was trying to hard. This has been a rough Batgirl transition for me, if I didn’t love the character so much, I would probably stop reading it, but I’m persisting in the hopes that it will get improve.
I rate issues one through five, two stars out of five.