Post-Convergence, things start off seemingly back to normal for the Batgirl title. No more Stephanie Brown, no more Cass Cain, this is Barbara Gordon doing what she does best. But things quickly take a turn when the new Batman—who is going to take an awful lot of getting used to—shows up. While I expected something in the vain of Iron Man, the new hi-tech Batman bears many more similarities to RoboCop. They’re not without reason. He is a cop in a robotic suit of armor. When he speaks inside the armor, it is with a very direct monotone voice. As a Batgirl story, though, it develops pretty well. Mild spoilers ahead.
The bulk of the issue is wisely dedicated to a conversation between Gordon and Barbara. He takes her out to the park to break it to her gently that he is the new Batman. This scene works, and it works for one reason in particular: in it, Barbara is a surrogate for the fans. Nobody had a terrific response when the new Batman and his new identity were announced. People were shocked by the sudden change and wondered how it would affect their place in the fandom (i.e.: their lives). Barbara goes through many of those same reactions the way a daughter would to a parent telling her a bit of news like this that’s going to completely change their relationship. He tells her that it’s a big change, but that it’s going to be okay, and it really feels like he’s talking to us.
The issue is also not without its share of action, all of which is handled beautifully. First we see Batgirl in an old house taking down a computer worshipping cult, then their apparent “Goddess” is later reborn in the form of Livewire, who Batgirl has a pretty good fight with up until it gets taken away from her. Livewire also disappears before the end of the issue, so this isn’t a one-off fight. Hopefully she’ll be able to take her place as a larger villain within the ongoing comic. It would be nice for her to be treated as the Big Bad and see a rare time in the spotlight.
Both fights in the issue are ended by the new Batman and I hope this becomes a developing plot point. This could create a very interesting rift between father and daughter. After all, she knows he’s Batman now but he doesn’t know she’s Batgirl. If she gets mad about this, she won’t even be able to tell him why.
The artwork by Babs Tarr is excellent, evoking a great indie comics vibe with just a slight echo of Bruce Timm—which really isn’t a bad thing. I was actually very impressed with this first issue and look forward to seeing how Batgirl develops from here.