Review – Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection

Cover of Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection, by DC ComicsBatgirl: The Darkest Reflection, Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf, Vincente Cifuentes

I very much enjoyed my first foray into Batgirl — certainly much more than I did the volume of Batman I choked down a while back for a class. Barbara Gordon is fun, and I have a thing for redheads anyway, I liked the art and her interactions with Bruce Wayne, and it’s a good introduction for someone new to DC.

I had two nitpicks. One, I didn’t think terribly much of the villains. They seemed almost too easily dealt with, like Gail Simone was starting Batgirl out soft because of the point I’m about to get to. It kind of makes sense, since she is being reintroduced and she is portrayed as needing to get back into the game here, but. Eh. I didn’t really care about the villains, put it that way. It felt a little bit rushed, too, though when I flipped back through it didn’t seem too bad. Maybe because the villain I was more interested in, Gretel, had less space.

The other thing was, well… why did we have to have a miracle cure for a disabled character? I don’t know much about Barbara Gordon or how prominent she might have been as a disabled character, so maybe there have been other issues building this up, but just jumping right in and finding that she was completely paralysed and then got better “miraculously” (as several people point out), it just didn’t feel right. I thought I was okay with it at first, given the way she talks about the time in a wheelchair and insists she’s not delicate now she’s out of it, but it didn’t quite add up for me.

Still, enjoyable, and I’ll pick up some more Batgirl when I get chance.

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7 thoughts on “Review – Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection

  1. Quality cover art, which sounds as if it was continued inside. I was more into DC comics than Marvel up to the 90s, when I passed on my small collection to my son. Batgirl always felt an underdeveloped character to me, too girly with high heels in the old days and then sidelined by being confined to a wheelchair. Do hope she gets given a more proactive and demanding role than this initial outing suggests.

    • Yeah, it was pretty consistent in that sense (more, to my mind, than say, Captain Marvel, which has several different artists, several of whom I dislike). I started with Marvel because the MCU attracted me but the Batman movies really didn’t (I got bored…), but now I’m branching out.

      “Sidelined by being confined to a wheelchair” — I think people with disabilities would be pretty cheesed off with that description. They often don’t like the description “wheelchair-bound” and hate the idea that they’re sidelined or their role is less important just because they can’t run about like other people; just a head’s up.

      • Please don’t get me wrong — I”m not passing a judgement on ability- impaired people, just what I perceived as the editorial pproach in the early 90s in the very few storylines I remember reading. As I wasn’t a consistent reader then this assessment is based on a very small sample so I apologise if I appeared to suggest that her physical limitatioms at the time reduced her

        • I didn’t think you meant to, but the phrasing would bother a fair few of my friends!

          And ha, don’t worry. My phone does that to me all the time, usually when I’m trying to send work email.

  2. You should get any member of my household started on this. Not least because I disagree with calmgrove a shit ton–Oracle was fucking kickass, and let’s be honest: there’re a lot of reasons why the comics fen were bent out of shape (myself included) with this part of the nu!52. [Okay, so my house maintains that DC went out of business about four years ago or so, and everything since is a cruel nightmare, but we’ve all been comics fans since we were very young, so.]

    • I bet! I used to watch the cartoons, but I only really became a comics fan in the last two years, so it’s hard for me to speak up with any opinions, you know? ’cause I don’t know half the context.

      Anything good with Oracle you’d recommend?

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