I might not love the content of this comic, but by the New Gods, I will fight for DC’s right to create it.
After months and months of the dire, dour Batgirl title that I couldn’t put anywhere near my daughters, I have been anxiously awaiting the “soft reboot” promised in this issue. Batgirl is one of the most popular characters for young, female comic fans, so is this finally an era of the comic my nine and six-year-olds can enjoy?
Turns out, probably not.
The book is clearly aiming a bit older for their audience. Online dating services, stolen personal photos, random hookups, and drinking are all core themes of this debut issue from Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher. There are literally so many new words for me in this issue I don’t know how many of the concepts laid out are new words for fake apps like “Hooq” and how many are just things I’ve never heard of! I always thought of myself as fairly tech-savvy, but half of the stuff the characters in this book talk about sounds like nonsense words to me. And there are hashtags in the dialogue! I’ve never felt so old!
The writers are playing a good mix here, with Barbara Gordon struggling with a quite a few things in her personal and professional life. That contrasts nicely with how effective and confident Babs is when she throws on the Batgirl costume. Once she’s in vigilante mode, she seems to have a pretty good handle on everything! I love that the new hipster Batgirl has a villain whose crimes are problems we’d see blowing up on Twitter and liberal news/media sites. This book is quite clear on who the target audience is; a very under-served market should feel quite pleased about this comic.
One odd thing; with the sudden “de-aging” of Babs to a young college student (and one that could be mistaken for a much younger kid), it is very weird seeing Black Canary show up and crash on Batgirl’s couch. I mean, this is an adult coming to a kid for help! The soft reboot does a lot to open up options for the younger Barbara Gordon, but man, that relationship with Black Canary sure changes, doesn’t it?
Babs Tarr has gotten a lot of press for her more modern, emotive art style, and she deserves it. While her style isn’t my preferred for comics, I am certain my daughters would love it. That new costume is tremendous! I have read some reviews from other folks who really took pleasure noticing the clothes, the accessories, the makeup and other facets of the life of an almost-20 year old. This almost 40-year old missed all of that!
Much of the issue was way too “Scott Pilgrim” for me, but again, I’m thinking I’m not the target audience for this book anymore. I think Grant Morrison’s text-speak for The Gentry is as modern as I can handle at the moment. Hash tags in word bubbles? That’s a bit out of my element.
So for me, this was only FAIR, but I would assume that if you are between 12 and 20, this would probably be a pretty great comic.