Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Comic Book Review: Batgirl #2

Review: Batgirl #2
Submitted by: Kelly Aliano, PhD, Comics News Editor
24 August 2016

**Spoilers to Follow**

Batgirl #2 opens with our heroine in Singapore, pursuing the attacker who went after her friend Kai in the previous issue.  We then return to the action of being Barbara Gordon, balancing attempting to be a normal young woman interacting with young men, being a genius, and, of course, being a badass superhero.  This Barbara seems quite realistic and I enjoy the opportunity to see things from a female perspective: Barbara’s internal monologue is regularly shared, as a compelling counterpoint to the dialogue.  She seems a perfect development from her Burnside incarnation and like a very true-to-life young woman.

The issue, entitled “Beyond Burnside: Part Two,” written by Hope Larson with art by Rafael Albuquerque, shows Barbara attempting to infiltrate an MMA ring, only to discover they are no longer hiring female fighters.  While investigating why women are no longer in the ring, Barbara inadvertently meets a fellow Gothamite, forcing her to present a false identity.  From here, the story places deeper focus on her budding romance with the secretive—and potentially criminal—Kai, interspersed with her MMA training.

Batgirl training to fight was a thrilling component of this comic, but her continual pondering over whether or not to pursue romance with Kai seemed a bit overdone. Barbara clearly has bigger fish to fry in this comic and the more engaging aspect of her relationship with Kai is his continually shady behavior: how did he get those key cards?  Where is this money he claims he is about to come into really going to come from?

The Verdict: I am quite glad that Batgirl is a part of the Rebirth line and I hope that DC continues to emphasize her as a strong, empowering female character.  While I have reservations about the emphasis on romance in female-led storylines, the action of the comic is a well-rendered chapter in what is clearly an ongoing narrative, one that is constructed of an interesting interweaving of seemingly disparate parts.

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