Comic Vine Review

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Batgirl #2 - Cut Short, Cut Deep

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The second issue of Batgirl has hit stores and more details regarding the identity of her new adversary, 'Mirror' are starting to come to light -- but is she in over her head? Some spoilers.

The second issue of Batgirl takes a closer look at Barbara Gordon's new adversary, 'The Mirror,' but is she in over her head? Some spoilers.

The Good

Since the start of the very first issue in this new series it seemed Simone was crafting 'The Mirror' to be a very interesting adversary for Barbara, and this issue delves a bit deeper into the identity and motives of the character. There are several fight sequences that demonstrate just how determined Barbara is to defeat a guy who is bigger and stronger than she is; and Simone stresses the fact that while 'The Mirror' may physically outmatch Babs; she is still quick and clever enough to outsmart him. Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes do a fantastic job with the art in this issue, making Barbara appear clumsy when it is necessary, as well as fluid and athletic when she needs to be. The colors are vibrant and bright, and the artists capture emotions through the character's expressions remarkably well.

It's clear Barbara still has a lot of work to do, and even though she isn't quite yet at her peak physical condition, she's still struggling through it and trying her best; that kind of determination is interesting to read and makes for a fun story.

The Bad

However, even though Barbara is determined; for a character who is supposed to be so smart, she sure is acting irresponsibly by putting herself in crazy situations. I mean, slamming into a car and then getting up like nothing happened? I would have bought that if most of the issue hadn't been stressing that Barbara is so weak and in so much pain.

It didn't always feel as though she was outsmarting him, either; and had that not been verbally communicated to the reader, it may not have been as obvious. It's clear that she's weaker and still struggling after having endured rehabilitation, and Simone implies that her legs are still a little bit weak and that perhaps she's unprepared to combat someone so much stronger than she is. Scenes like the one where Barbara (who is already injured) slams into a taxi at full force, and then proceeds to get up without a scratch (really?) and track 'The Mirror' to the cemetary are a little, well, unbelievable. I guess it's just hard to wrap my head around the fact that she's able to do all this and then just get up and go on a date the next day like it was no big deal. Unless she's Robocop now (and I'm not ruling out the cybernetic legs theory) I don't think that's happening. I'm just not buying it. If you're going to demonstrate that a character is weak, there should be lapse of time or something indicating that she's recovering from her injuries. Instead, it felt the pacing felt a little bit off.

She also uncovers 'The Mirror's' identity very quickly, and the reader doesn't really see the detective work happen. I feel like if you are going to write a smart character, you can't just say "yes, she's smart, she will outsmart him," but instead you should show the reader the process and in turn, prove to them that yes, this is a very intelligent character and that is her strength. Take them through the steps with Barbara, demonstrate just how intelligent she really is. I think I would have liked to see more of Barbara uncovering a mystery and being a detective than (as a reader) simply being told that she does a ton of research and presto! she solved it.

The Verdict

A lot happens in this issue, and maybe it was a little bit too much but I think less action and a bigger focus on Babs' intellect and crime/problem solving capabilities would have this issue a lot more interesting. The art is great, however, and the colors are vibrant and beautiful and match the fast paced story line. My biggest issue right now, however, is that this doesn't really feel like a Barbara Gordon story -- at least not to me. I think that if you replaced her with blond hair, she would pass for Stephanie Brown. There's an interesting scene where Commissioner Gordon finds out that Barbara has returned, and the expression on his face in that panel makes me wonder whether he knows that Batgirl is his daughter. Very interesting.

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Christina

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Edited By Christina

This is dissapointing, I'll still read it though

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Bestostero

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Edited By Bestostero

You made some valid points like slamming into the car (even though that's my favorite scene in this particular issue) and the lack of detective work.

However, Larry Luthor and I, give this a five! A lot did happen in this book within a short amount of time, but I don't mind that, I usually complain that too little is going on or they're dragging it out too much... I really enjoyed this book, and the art is still pretty darn good... I too wonder if Commissioner Gordon knows that Babs is Batgirl due to his expression.

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hippiehop

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Edited By hippiehop

The art is fantastic. But I'm very disappointed in the character so far. Like you say it reads more like Stephanie, but even she had a stronger personality than this version of Babs.

I was never a fan of Spoiler but Steph as Batgirl won me over. But one of the things that made that book good was that Oracle was there giving Steph advice. I loved that dymanic and loved it even more when Barbara stepped aside and a younger version of Oracle took over helping Steph. Having a teenager out there alone is far less interesting. I guess Barbara is in her early 20s in this title, but it seems like she is out in the world for the first time. Why would she get a roommate? Hiding her secret identity from someone she is living with is already annoying. This really just reads like a bad issue of What If? to me.

I really can't wait until the next big DC "event" when hopefully this world is proven to be imaginary and we get Oracle back. I've been re-reading the original run of Birds of Prey which was such a fantastic book. Oracle had such a strong personality and it is just totally gone from this version. I understand that Barbara will always be Batgirl and it really is nice to get some new stories about her (outside of the animated cartoon universe) but they are going about it all wrong imho.

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keithmoon316

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Edited By keithmoon316

I really enjoyed Batgirl #2. Something I would keep reading and picking up each month. Maybe I don't have as much history with Babs as Oracle so I am less bothered by all the changes in character.

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Omertalvendetta

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Edited By Omertalvendetta

For the first time ever, I agree with you in a review. However, I do like seeing Barbara this way (not being weak, though, I agree time needs to pass for her to heal) and not as Oracle.... much more enjoyable.

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Eyz

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Edited By Eyz

I still think it would have been better to still have Steph as Batgirl around, specially if it was to produce this kinda story/plot/villain/threats.

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Nikoleta

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Edited By Nikoleta

I loved the art. I ended up reading it through a second time just to look at everything again.

And I was pretty happy about the fact that she seemed a lot weaker. One of my biggest fears was that she was going to just jump right back in at full strength. Unfortunately, although she says she's weak it doesn't really show it in a continuous way. Like you said, she just got right back up after slamming into that taxi but then she's portrayed as weak? It just doesn't flow right.

I would have much rather seen less action and more detective work in the plot.

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deactivated-5a98cd905fc97

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I entirely agree with your points regarding Barbara's intelligence.  She may be rusty, but I really don't see much in the way of intelligence being used in her actions.  I don't mind if she misses a few kicks, because she's out of practice, but I would think she'd at least be more clever.  I do like the inclusion of her previous fears surfacing, and of course, like many others here, I loved the artwork.

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djotaku

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Edited By djotaku

In the scene when she's on a date with her therapist it seems like they say her legs just magically healed. At least that's the way I read their dialog.

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higher_evolutionary

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good art but the action is very messy, hard to keep track of whats going on
plus barbara frequently talks in a very convoluted way, its so off-putting

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Nasar7

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Edited By Nasar7

I'm really enjoying this series so far but I do agree with you on Babs' intelligence/maturity. She should really be written more like Batwoman but instead, perhaps because the two titles would be too similar in tone, Babs thinks/acts more like Steph Brown. And don't get me wrong, I love Steph, but Babs should really be on another level.

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X9

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Edited By X9

Well, the reason she looks not so clever and mature as before is because she's younger. As Gail Simone left very clear "she still doesn't know it all". Plus, she's been through tough problems, she's not at her best yet.

We'll see the charater mature and calm down at her own time