Babs Gordon thwarts a doppelganger in Batgirl #37, written by Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart, with art by Babs Tarr, colors by Maris Wicks and lettering by Jared K. Fletcher.
Three issues into the new feel and god I want to like this. God I want to like this. I really want to like this. Beautiful color, snappy artwork, fresh and young (if not a bit try-hard and a bit overblown) this is really fun stuff at least it’s trying to be and it’s also really trying. There’s a gnawing little bulldog in my head that just doesn’t put this Babs with the one we previously have seen. It feels too domestic. Too small. And it’s not working for me.
Really there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this comic visually and aesthetically. It’s gorgeously drawn. It’s got okay plots. Babs is up against a doppelganger who appears dressed literally in a modernized version of Yvyone Craig’s Batgirl suit, which is a whole other shade of purple and was sparkly. Babs later attends an art show and it’s glammed out pictures of….BATGIRL. She tries to track down the artist and finds her doppelganger again, now decked out in a Batgirl suit of pure gold sequins. This is a pretty fillerish issue, while I’m always a fan of one off stories this felt a bit too small, which ties into my question as to why are we making Batgirl so small time?
This whole Burnside and now “Batgirl of Burnside” is sort of obnoxious and it’s only been three issues of this new Batgirl. Not only is Gotham expanding at the writer’s whim but in a city like Gotham you’d think Babs moving to the trendy gentrified area would bring about possible criticism of said gentrification or a concentration of wealth (despite students not having any) and focus on what people there are doing to help the city. What it comes off as is a little bit self indulgent instead. Which is fine people are allowed to have fun but and I know she’s in college too. But it feels so dissonant. This feels like it’s Batgirl Year Two.
While I sort of like that Babs has a techy friend gadget guy now, it sorta feels redundant. A big thing about Babs was her DIY spirit, why have a guy make her stuff if she could probably make it herself? Or at the least show her inventing stuff?
I was not a fan of the cross dresser Dagger Type being the villain here for the sake of some sort of vain art experiment on idol worship and their own delusions. There’s inklings of transmisogny there and it’s not cool. The language Babs uses, calling the “disco suit” trashy points in that direction. Her surprise at the wig pull outing and about to call Dagger Type a man. Like really?
I also did not appreciate the wheelchair artwork. That artwork alone shows how DC does not understand Babs or Oracle and Babs’ ability to get past that, they misunderstand her growth. I adore the focus on detective work but it’s really missing the mark as to what Babs is. I need a better Batgirl than this. Dick is able to go be a super spy, and Babs is left beating up obnoxious artists. Oracle could topple cities. Why do they want Babs to be so small?
Cute and flashy with appealing looking characters and diversity however the cracks in the writing and huge character misinterpretation are really starting to show and it’s putting a hamper on what was a promising start. I really need DC to give Babs a chance to be Babs and show off her tech prowess and smarts. Why haven’t we seen Babs actually do anything near a computer?! Why is that so bad? The villain did not make much sense either and the transmisogny surrounding Dagger Type, whose personal motive meanwhile made little sense, was distasteful. If you want to do more trans characters don’t do them that way. They can be the villain too, just don’t do that. Don’t have Babs react in that manner.
The writers need to stop trying too hard to be young and hip as well, it’s been generally okay but they’re starting to rely on mentioning social media and focusing on selfies and cellphones too much; it comes off as contrived. Only old people actually talk about selfies the way people talk about selfies here. The art is fantastic and saves this issue from it’s pretty disastrous writing, otherwise it would be a two. The wheelchair part was really quite offensive and shows some questionable understanding of Babs as a character too aside from the trans issues. I hope they apologize and make an effort to do better.