With Gail Simone’s departure from Batgirl over creative differences with an editor (who has since left DC), the series is taking on a completely new look. Barbara Gordon has a new superhero outfit, the new writing team of Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr as the new artist. The new look is fantastic, but how does the writing turn out.
Batgirl 35 is a good start for Stewart and Fletcher’s run. With Barbara moving to a new part of town that hasn’t really been shown before, it makes room for a generally lighter series than Gail Simone’s often darker storytelling. It introduces the new, well varied supporting cast while still including her former roommate. After a number of electronic devices were stolen after a house party, Babs begins her investigation.
The stolen electronics theme continues through the writing itself. Tidbits of exposition are through E-mails and texts that pop onto other panels. The comic also uses Barbara’s photographic memory to great effect, remembering the strange house guests at the party, memorizing a shortcut while chasing down the thief in the streets and even using her memory as a weapon. There’s a little bit of overkill with the digital theme of the book though, especially when Babs uses a dating profile to catch a thief in less than a day.
The art is great and fits the comic’s mood perfectly. Every time Babs taps into her photographic memory, there’s a blue shading and a red highlight on everything notable or suspect. The villain taking all the electronic devices at one point flips a double bird, cleverly pixilated to censor it. Facial expressions do a great job at capturing characters’ emotions. Also, the montage where Babs puts together her new batgirl uniform is excellent, and even includes a little image of a song for her personal soundtrack.
I’ll miss Gail Simone’s run, but if this issue is any indication, Stewart and Fletcher should be able to make this work. It’s not perfect, but it’s a fun beginning. With most of the Batman titles being so dark, it’s refreshing to see at least one book with a lighter tone. This is worth picking up if you like Batgirl’s new look.