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Batgirl - The Darkest Reflection Hardcover – 17 Jul 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books (17 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781163790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781163795
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.2 x 25.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,285,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Gail Simone is the fan-favourite writer of Villains United, Superman: Action Comics, Rose & Thorn, Deadpool and The Simpsons. She is currently writing Gen 13, The All-New Atom and Welcome to Tranquility.

Customer Reviews

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By Ian Williams VINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of all DC's New 52, this was going to be the hardest to get right. Ever since Moore and Bolland's The Killing Joke when The Joker shot Barbara Gordon in the spine, Gordon (formerly Batgirl) had become an iconic character -a wheelchair-bound young woman who refused to let her disability prevent her from becoming Oracle, the super-hero information service and computer expert, who led her own superteam (Birds of Prey which was never bettered as when written by Gail Simone now writer of the new Batgirl). Now,to the horror of many fans (particularly of the previous and well-liked incarnation of Batgirl, Stephanie Brown) Gordon was back as Batgirl. It was going to take some clever writing to get this one right.

But if anyone was going to do it it would be Gail Simone and she's just about pulled it off. In this new continuity Barbara was still shot and crippled by the Joker but now, over three years later and pioneering surgery, she can walk again and has just begun to take up the Batgirl mantle. But it isn't easy and she could, apparently, still undo all the good work. She's also still psychologically scarred by the shooting. It also seems that she was never Oracle (who isn't mentioned). There's a new character in the form of Alysia Yeo whose apartment Barbara is sharing. Alysia has a secret which is as yet unrevealed but as she was willing to quickly share it with her new roomie it can't be too dark. There's also the startling appearance of a character who is both old and brand new whose identity I won't spoil.

The art by Ardian Syaf is slick and very good.

But what stops me giving this a 5* rating are the two villains who, while effective at what they do, are rather poor characters. You'll have to take my word for this as to say too much would be to spoil it.
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Format: Hardcover
Gail Simone is one of the freshest voices in super hero comics. Her career originated in an online blog where criticizing the victimization of women in super hero stories ("Women in refrigerators") brought new perspectives to a cliché genre. When she took over DC's Birds of Prey she wrote the character Oracle for years and gave her a depth rarely experienced in mainstream comics. Barbara Gordon was one of those victims described above having been shot by the Joker and using a wheelchair since. As the secret leader of those Birds of Prey she grew into a role model for people with disabilities never giving up and serving her best by use of her cunning abilities with computers. Simone, a redhead herself, said that it had been her dream to write Barbara Gordon since her days as Batgirl.
When DC revamped its whole line of super hero comics in 2011 (The New 52) there were many critical voices regarding this decision, one in general that so all those characters with their long history were bereft of their history, the other especially regarding Barbara Gordon who was installed as Batgirl again, evidently not needing a wheelchair any more. (Coincidentally the most prominent wheel chair user of the Marvel Universe walks these days too, miraculously healed.)
Readers using a wheelchair themselves and having chosen Barbara Gordon as an idol felt cheated. They lived in a world where no miracles happened.
In defense of Gail Simone you have to keep in mind that it was editorial decision to make Gordon Batgirl again. And though hesitating Simone finally thought that if it would be done anyway she could be the one doing it in a decent way. And she did. The incident that brought Gordon into a wheelchair DID happen and somehow she got back onto her legs.
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Format: Hardcover
Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl! As most people know, her character was shot in the spine and crippled by the Joker in Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke" and for years afterwards was in a wheelchair, becoming Batman's tech support as Oracle. With the New 52 relaunch last year, she was controversially taken out of the wheelchair to become Batgirl once again. Interestingly, the events of the "Killing Joke" still happened but 3 years of physiotherapy and pioneering surgery has taken Barbara from the wheelchair back onto her feet. Mentally though she's forever scarred and she's still not 100% physically fit and this book re-introduces her character for a new audience to get to know her.

Barbara is the best thing about the book. Getting to know her character, seeing her back in action as Batgirl, it's all handled superbly by Gail Simone who gives Barbara a genuine voice and depth. In a city like Gotham where Batman has such a firm grasp of the city, it's cool to see Batgirl carving out a niche for herself as another caped crusader while navigating the complexities of her own personal life.

That said, the book is let down by sub-par villains. The first is called "Mirror", a former army guy whose family died in a blazing car fire which he somehow survived. The incident snapped his mind leading him to somehow take revenge on anyone who'd miraculously survived a terrible event. It's not the most logical route to becoming a villain is it? I mean, if he was that distraught, wouldn't he just kill himself? Putting on an elaborate mirrored costume and enacting the "Final Destination" films is just too much of a stretch. The second is a villain who got her psychic powers over men after being shot in the head and surviving. Really?
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