Comic Vine Review

34 Comments

Batgirl #35 - Burned

4

She's in a new town and has a new costume. Is this the same Batgirl we knew before?

The Good

Jumping on points in comics are sometimes difficult to pull off. The idea is to make a book completely accessible to new readers without forsaking those that have loyally stuck around for some time. BATGIRL #35 is a jumping on point. For the most part, you don't need to know or worry about what happened before. At the same time, the appearance by Alysia, Barbara's former roommate, ensures the previous issues haven't been forgotten.

With a new look, courtesy of Babs Tarr (and Cameron Stewart), the book does have a fresh feel to it. That isn't saying the book wasn't fresh before but you can definitely sense the new vibe going on. Barbara Gordon is a young character. It's stated that she's twenty-one (I thought she was at least a couple years older but where her age was listed didn't necessarily have to be completely accurate. Going back to college, we're seeing Barbara with a new cast of characters in a new city.

Stewart and Brenden Fletcher are coming up with a modern day feel. There is a mix of lightheartedness combined with some of the common instances in today's society. When there is an individual obtaining people's biggest secrets and threatening to post them online, it's something that sounds very familiar given recent events.

The more I read, the more I was falling in love with the art. It's great is seeing Barbara use her eidetic memory and how it's shown on the pages. Her new costume (and why she actually needed one) is pretty fantastic. It's also not just a bunch of new characters as we do see a very familiar face. What role this character will play in the coming issues remains to be seen but it's a welcomed presence.

The Bad

Maybe it's my age starting to show but I felt there were some moments and themes almost too meta with today's social media-driven society. It is important to reach out to your target reading demographic but it almost started becoming too much. You have to wonder what older readers will think of some of the big changes in look and direction. It also might not be something to really worry about in the present but pulling from current events and trends could seriously date the issue when read later one. It's nice when stories can stand the test of time. This new direction has a lot going for it and I'd love for future generations to be able to stumble upon this series and enjoy it.

The villain was interesting. I am curious how he gained his ability. His accessories couldn't be cheap to come by. He also had some impressive fighting skills.

The Verdict

There's a new direction for Barbara Gordon. Batgirl has moved to a new town and because of certain events, she even makes herself a great-looking new costume. This makes a great jumping on point for new readers and doesn't ignore past events. You can feel the vibe of the story trying to reach a younger and hipper crowd. It's definitely an interesting change for the book but does feel like a little too much at time. Don't be fooled into thinking this is being geared towards youngsters. There are still some more adult themes going on. You will want to check this out to see the changes. The book was good before but you can feel a different sort of energy pulsing through the pages.

34 Comments

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youknowwhattodo

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Edited By youknowwhattodo

I enjoyed the issue for the most part, it wasn't the greatest start to a new run but I think that this tone, which was reminiscent of "Girls" from HBO actually suited a 21 year old (think that's her age, correct me if I'm wrong) Barbara better than Gail Simone's which was unnecessarily bleak and didn't read that much different from Batman or Batwoman.

I see what people are saying with all of the social media references but for many in the millennial generation, it is a huge part of our lives so for some it might seem like overkill but I don't think so.

We'll see after a few issues if this series can give a successful makeover for Barbara like Mark Waid did for Daredevil. It's nice to see DC go for an audience that was mostly ignored through the new 52.

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Mucklefluga

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Edited By Mucklefluga

I'm seeing a really mixed response across the net for this ish, too bad my copy won't arrive til at least Saturday.

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SmashBrawler

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Edited By SmashBrawler

Nope, sorry, I really, really wanted to like this but by God, did this book try too hard.

I loved the art though.

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the_stegman

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the_stegman  Moderator

I'm excited.

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Wowlock

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After growing with the old Barbara and the Oracle...I just can't imagine Batgirl as a ''modern'' teenager. This would be more fitting for Stephanie Brown. I just loved her and the Birds of Prey style where they were not 'old' nor teenagers.

I always saw Barbara to be more mature and her role as the Oracle was perfect. Does it make me a bad person to say that she getting 'healed' was kinda worse for her character ?

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KingsCastle

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Edited By KingsCastle

I thought it was a very good issue. I like seeing Barbara use her intelligence to solve cases and we really get to see her doing that in this. The way she was using her photographic memory this issue was great to see. I like Gail Simone's writing but I thought her approach to Batgirl was a little dark for my tastes so it's nice to see a less angst filled version of the character.

I agree that the references to social media might have been a little bit over the top this time around but I think that with enough time, the team that is working on the series can find a good balance. Case in point...this issue had Barbara checking her texts, e-mails, and setting up on an online dating profile. The villain was even talking in Hashtags. It's a lot to process especially since some of the social media outlets being used were created specifically to advance the story. If you didn't know what HOOQ or Blackbook was when it is first referenced in the issue...it's not your fault. It becomes clearer as the issue progresses. Sidenote: Does anyone know what GBG stands for? I couldn't figure that one out. For the context of the issue where a villain is using social media to blackmail other people...the references fit in but it can come off a little bit heavy even for the only moderately tech savvy. I'm not saying that the writing team should cut the social media references out completely in future issues but it wouldn't hurt for them to ease up on it just a slight bit.

I liked the artwork of the issue very much. I think it really captures the emotions of each character. It took me a little bit of time to recognize Black Canary though. ^_^;

I'd definitely recommend reading this comic for Batgirl fans and I'm definitely planning to pick up issue 2 based on this one. I think that G-man's rating was pretty accurate. I might have been a little bit more generous myself maybe giving it a 4.5 out of 5.

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PapiNacho

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This issue was just not for me.

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tximinoman

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Edited By tximinoman

I liked it. I mean, I didn't loved it (mostly because most of the cast felt annoying as sh&t) but I did enjoy it.

The art was great and I do look forward for what's coming up next

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primebonnick

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man i'm just glad dinah is back with her.

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critter615

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@kingscastle: GBG stands for "Gordon, Barbara Gordon." This is how she introduces herself to Alysia in the first issue, and tends to come up on occasion.

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KingsCastle

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@critter615: Thanks I was scratching my head wondering about that one. ^_^

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longbowhunter

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I'd planned on picking this up, but now maybe not.

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senglord

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@wowlock: the "healing" was no different than a character being brought back from the dead. And using technology being utilized IRL to do it in a comic book world with black hole generating tanks and common thugs having cyber tech in their eyes, or nanotechnology healing factors...it just makes her a comic book character that does not live in a world of incoherent nihilism. Our world may or may not be nihilistic, but it is coherent with itself.

Maybe I am alone in thinking that bringing back Jason Todd and healing Barbara Gordon actually fixes the incoherence that was in Batman for the past 25 years regarding his morals. He will not kill the guy who killed many people he cared about, yet he has killed several people in the '80s and early '90s. He has a strong will, yet every major arc written by HWMNBN has him gunning up to kill a helpless villain. If the DC bullpen were composed with writers on the level of Marvel, Valiant, IDW, and Image for multi title characters that have a large number of crossovers; the franchises would be coherent.

If Simone were allowed to write a story that was genuine to her own vision for the character, sales would have been much better. But, if HWMNBN has not spent so much time building up Flashpoint Wonder Woman as the jumping on for new readers of New 52, Azarello's brilliant run would dominate every non bat title through art, dialog, and story.

Just look at the nihilism of Simone's replacement to understand just how oot DC is with new readers and old readers.

Here is to hoping that Warner Bros gets drunk enough to sell all their Batman properties to Disney at some point.

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majingojira

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Edited By majingojira

The only real problem I had with this issue was that it made Babs kinda dumb. Her not being uber paranoid about her gear, her computer and so on just seems like plot induced stupidity to me.

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jdp180

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Edited By jdp180

This felt like a comic aimed at people in their mid 20s. The only thing missing from Barbara is a her carrying a bag with a small dog in it and why do I get the feeling someone close to her is gonna have a sex tape? I don't think I am gonna like all the references to social media and Babs rooming with another bisexual chick of color. I don't read BoP so I dont know why her and Black Canary aren't friends anymore but I also dont care.

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jayc1324

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This type of tone and content doesn't really fit Barbara at all. She's like a 15 year old girl. Wasn't bad though, maybe it'll get better.

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Boynerdgeek

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People complaint about Gail Simone Batgirl but hey at least she makes Barbara kind of Strong and kick ass woman. Barbara Gordon also really smart in Gail Simone Batgirl run. Meanwhile this book makes Barbara looks like idiot. I'm sorry if you want to do fun Batgirl why not makes Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. In pre new 52 Stephanie Brown is the fun Batgirl

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IllyanaRasputin

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Edited By IllyanaRasputin

Loved the first 34 issues, not enjoying the new take on it at all.

Does not fit Barbara's personality. In my opinion they should have done this with Stephanie Brown, she's younger and a more "fun young" intake on life... Not Babs. This book is totally ruining a great character that the New 52 launched.

0/5 for me.

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Boynerdgeek

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@illyanarasputin: agree. This book is for Stephanie Brown. Doesn't fit for Barbara Gordon

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HavocLink

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Fun fact: chiroptera, the coffee shop in this issue, is the scientific name for bats.

On the chapter as a whole, I was against the idea of taking Batgirl into a more lighthearted and dare I say campy territory mainly because it would invalidate a lot of the stuff she went through in the past 34 issues. Burnside just doesn't feel like a place that would exist that close to Gotham city. I had to convince myself at the end of reading this issue that this is indeed the same timeline where not too long ago Barbara was dealing with a dysfunctional family, murderous psychopaths, and being hunted by her own father. I bought this issue to give the new writers a chance. I'll see just how much of this "new" Batgirl I can take before I decide to drop this series lol

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CrazyScarecrow

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I'm excited to read this book! And am thrilled to see that the old Batgirl stories will not be forgotten. Also on the social media thing. While I see where you are coming from about the dating itself really I find that to be what is so cool about comics. Comics are in a way a neverending story that adapts and showcases society of the time. For example, the original Batman stories showed age with he style of art, WWII references during the 40's, odd sci-fi of the 50's, pop art feel that influenced with the 60's Batman, James Bond spy themes in the 70's, grittiness reflecting the changing views of the 80's, and more extreme characters like Bane & Jean Paul and Nightwing's mullet of the 90's.

Comics are cool because they show change and prove that the characters are strong enough to stand the test of time by easily adapting and still be enjoyable.

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charlieboy

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I guess people don't remember when Barbara was the fun Batgirl. Babs' early tales were very light hearted. I loved Simone's run, but I did enjoy this issue as well. It has potential.

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BenStark

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I really wanted to like this, really. But that wasn't Barbara at all, that's some teenager who stole her name. I liked Simone's Batgirl, and I wanted this to be awesome too, but no. Well, now my pull-list is DC comics free.

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ALittleTooRaph

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This issue was ok. There were parts that I enjoyed and others that really turned me off. The art began to grow on me as I read through the book. I'm ok with this Batgirl relating more to trends and lifestyles of today's generation, although I thought it felt a little forced at times. I really liked her graphic memory and how she was able to recall clues while looking around her new apartment. I didn't particularly like how she made the dating profile, which included a tight shot of her face and red hair, then canceled her date with the suspect, just to show up as Batgirl seconds later. In what world (even fictional) would that guy not be able to put 2 and 2 together and figure out her identity? Later, she dives into the club where hundreds of people have cell phones and cameras. People would be snapping photos of Batgirl left and right, and those pics would be all over the internet and the TV. One would think it would then only be a matter of time before her secret identity was exposed. I guess it was fitting that the issue ended with someone knowing that Barbara was in fact Batgirl. I just feel like Barbara is too smart to put herself in those positions to have her identity figured out so easily. I'll have to check out the next issue or so though to see if I'm on board for this new direction of the book and character.

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deactivated-097092725

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I read this issue prepared to not expect the old Batgirl and I was still pretty thrown, haha.

I do love the art and the colour is quenching. The social scene Barbara is in (with the partying) was pretty cool to come across and contrary to most of what I am hearing, I actually enjoyed the tech/social media angle. Even the bad guy. Clearly there was an attempt made to point out what's been happening lately on the interwebz, and I guess the argument of this story coming across heavy handed can be made convincingly but all in all, I liked it. I didn't love it, but this is a new direction for this character and I'm willing to ride it out a bit.

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SpiderKnightCrawler

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Hated it. Like a lot of people I was in love with Gail Simone's story, combined with Glapion's very solid artwork and Artgerm's/Alex Garner's cover art's You won't find better covers around. Now we come to this.

Even if I was okay with the story line direction they was taking this, that artwork is terrible. I'm sorry, but that is something that should be in newspaper comic strips, NOT a superhero comic for a company like DC. There are TWO things I liked about this issue: The actual costume is okay, as a somewhat throwback to Stephanie Brown's Batgirl suit, and the coffee shop scene that had a silhouette of Sailer Moon in the background. Other than that, bleh!

In the end, I have to agree with a lot of people that this didn't feel like Batgirl. I see where people are saying it's how Batgirl was back in the day, but it's not how she's been now. At the very least, they should have just re-numbered it #1, because this has nothing to do with the first 34 issues. It just fell flat for me on all levels, and as a huge Batgirl fan, it makes me sad.

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InkInk

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Will be interesting to see how sales of this book trend in the next 6 months. It's really going after that Ms. Marvel/Hawkeye modern reader both book held strong sales, I think i might be tougher for Batgirl to keep those sales strong simply because unlike Hawkeye and Ms. Marvel this book does not have strong writing. So the brand new make over for Babs and her life might not last long if the scripts do not get tighter and stop pandering to Tumblr using hipsters that do not read comics.

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KomicKev

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Sure, I'm 53 so this comic is obviously not aimed at me. However, I was 53 (and 52 and 51) while reading the first 34 issues and I enjoyed them a lot. I suppose DC would like to attract younger, more hip readers and I get that. Luckily for me, there are a lot of choices out there so I'll just step off the Batgirl train for now and maybe return if/when the book changes.

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TDK_1997

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This was a really bad issue in my opinion. I know DC are trying to make Batgirl a more teeny character that people my age would like and buy her book more but they were just trying too hard for things to happen. There was too much of today's slang and too much social media and Barbara was really out of her character. I really can't see her be part of something like this that was in this issue and as much as it was better than Simone's run it was still bad but I guess this will be the Batgirl we will be seeing.

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son1new

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Did not like this issue at all. I'd give it a 2 and that's being kind. This was the first issue when I truly did not like Barbara Gordon as a character. She just seemed so selfish and well kinda stupid. Weak ass villain as well. One thing about Gail's series she always had strong villains and good plots. I get that i'm not the audience that they want anymore which is a shame since i own all previous 34 issues but won't be adding issue 36 to my collection. I'll check back in when we have a creative change i can't support this Barbara.

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X9

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@illyanarasputin: I agree with you. I think this issue pretty much killed everything Babs have of so unique. I don't even think it'd fit Stephanie cause Steph is cheerful and positive...not retarded and imature.

I really hope they change it or at least give more of a mature tone. I also didn't like the art, it makes the comic looks childish, especially if you compare it to other Bat Titles.

I already miss Simone :(

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CatBoy

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I loved this issue and fully appreciate what Stewart/Tarr are doing with the Batgirl direction. Sure, it won't be everyone's cup of tea and I get that - but you can't deny that this version of Batgirl has it's own fresh voice in the sometimes monotonous world of comics today.

I really respect Simone and what she has done with Batgirl, because she earned the 34 (33?) issues she worked on this series - because, let's face it, she made Barbara Gordon who she is in the pages of Birds of Prey pre-new 52. But, it wasn't my bag. I bought the first few issues because I loved the Adam Hughes covers (and miss him doing Catwoman), and then dropped it.

When the first photos came out for the new direction - I got excited. The new Batgirl costume was cute, practical, current - and even more-so felt... different. But, when Stewart referenced the 2001 Brubaker/Cooke Catwoman as one of his inspirations for the look and feel for the new Batgirl, I was on-board.

Yes, it might not hit every demographic, and as somebody who isn't really on any social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), the #hashtag references can wear even wear on me, a 26 year old - but overall this book was a fun ride, with some cool mature under-tones.

Give it a chance.

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hugebone

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Edited By hugebone

I'm 25. I don't know if that counts as a millenial, but damn I can't stand this book... I admit it is something that is original in the New 52 line-up, much like Gotham Academy, but it's not something that was missing for me.

The characters in the issue reminded me of people of that actual age, which is good for the realism of the story, but bad for me :p Because it reminded me of annoying people.

Oh and I forgot to mention "Hooq".