[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Barbara is in Japan!!! On a backpacking trip thousands of miles away from Gotham, Batgirl has decided to get away from the city and do some research and hopefully meet an old Japanese superhero. However it seems that trouble has a nasty habit of finding Barbara!!! What happens when Batgirl is thrown outta Gotham and across the world into Japan?
“Beyond Burnside Pt. 1” which is written by Hope Larson and penciled by Rafael Albuquerque gives us a whole different take on Barbara and I like it. Although Batgirl has had her own series for awhile, I’ve always thought of her as a good supporting character, however I’m enjoying the direction Hope Larson has gone here. No longer in the shadows of Commissioner Gordon or Bruce Wayne, Barbara has started her own tech company which is pretty impressive. The book shows Barbara’s growth as a character but Larson still keeps her brains and that infamous smart mouth of hers. I enjoyed seeing Barbara in and out of costume in this issue although there were some parts that were lacking–but we’ll get into that later. The art by Rafael compliments it further by providing great penciling for a great story. Everything from the fight scenes to facial expressions were done brilliantly and I hope for the next issue Rafael steps it up a notch with more action from Batgirl.
My only complaint about the book is its pacing. There were times were it comes off more like a vacation guide than an actual story. Barbara runs into an old friend, and the two soon find themselves eating squid and having drinks. Nothing wrong with that at all, but it was a few moments I had in the book where I wondered “just why is Barbara in Japan again?” The action doesn’t get heavy until the very end when Barbara meets one of the reasons she traveled in Japan–to meet a superhero from the 40’s called Fruitbat. Being an admirer of the aged superhero, Barbara is surprised to see that the old lady still as a few fight moves left in her– so was I! However I hope that Larson increases the action in the next issue and I’m thinking that she will since we were left asking a lot of questions at the end of this issue.
“Beyond Burnside Pt. 1” is a great introduction into the world of Batgirl if you’ve never been introduced to her before. I enjoy seeing her growth from Oracle in a wheelchair to being CEO of her own company. She even references her wheelchair days to Fruitbat which I love that Larson paid homage to that moment in her past. I love seeing supporting characters from the Batfamily having their own trials and tribulations without Batman having to get them out of it! Batman is obviously a great character, but he’s so great that he overshadows characters like Robin, Batgirl, Red Hood etc. so it’s good to see how these characters hold their own against their own villains. Definitely check out Batgirl #1!!! It’s a great introduction to a great upcoming story!!!