Monday, 17 April 2017

Batgirl, Volume 1: Beyond Burnside Review (Hope Larson, Rafael Albuquerque)


Batgirl’s decided to get some martial arts training in Asia and squeeze in some backpacking at the same time. But blah blah is blah blah and Babs is gonna have to blah blah to blah blah - blah? Blah. Reblah. 

I would ell-yoo-vee it if just one of these Afterbirth books was halfway decent but it just ain’t happening! I’ll give Hope Larson this though: Batgirl is not badly written, it’s just not at all interesting. Babs is looking for some formula from generic bad guys who’re looking to make money - it’s so uninspired. And you could take Babs out of the equation and drop in any other hero and the story would be unaffected so it doesn’t feel like a uniquely Batgirl book. 

On top of that, I noticed in this one how poorly Batgirl’s mask actually conceals Babs’ identity. How her childhood buddy Kai doesn’t know it’s her instantly is ridiculous. I mean, she’s an American white girl with long red hair in places like South Korea, Japan and China - not exactly countries bursting with Caucasians! - and then Batgirl shows up at the same time as Babs, a superhero who’s an American white girl with long red hair and a mask with MASSIVE eye holes that obviously tells you it’s Babs, but they still talk like Barbara Gordon and Batgirl are two separate people?! I couldn’t buy it for a second. 

At least with Batwoman’s outfit, she’s wearing a wig of long red hair and out of costume she has short hair to throw people off (though there are like three people in Gotham with alabaster-white skin so, discounting the Joker and Harley Quinn, Kate should be quite easy to pick out!). Gah. And turning off her photographic memory like some kind of switch - how the hell does that work!? That major plot point was so stupid. 

The book closes out with some nonsense about Poison Ivy and a prehistoric plant on the flight back to Gotham. Bo-ring! 

Rafael Albuquerque’s art is fine but unremarkable which also describes Larson’s script and their Batgirl reads like a forgettable Saturday morning cartoon at best. That might appeal to some who aren’t looking for anything more than fluff with their superheroes but anyone looking for a gripping or substantial comic won’t find it here. Batgirl Rebirth is beyond blah.

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