Barbara Gordon has always been one of my favorite characters in comic books. She’s brilliant, strong, resourceful, brave, witty, and beautiful: basically a version of Hermione Granger who’s also really good at punching people. And this installment of Batgirl: Rebirth does an excellent job of capturing all of the best that Barbara Gordon has to offer as a character.
The art style has a perfectly nostalgic feel to it. Not too dark, but not too friendly, either. It doesn’t resemble the Bruce Timm TAS style really, but it somehow evokes the same feelings in me: fun but with a hint of serious danger. It’s absolutely perfect for Batgirl.
The cover is also fantastic. I love narrative covers, and this one tells you everything you need to know about the comic. It makes it clear that Dick and Barbara’s relationship is as complex and interesting as ever. Front and center is a portrait of the two Batkids back-to-back in the present, looking mutually suspicious of one another; and below another shot of them back-to-back, this one in the past, totally trusting one another in a fight.
The first issue does a great job both showing the beginnings of Batgirl and Robin’s friendship and illustrating the distance that exists between them in the present. The story and cover perfectly hint at the dark events of a summer years ago (presumably the source of the title “The Summer of Lies”) that have not only distanced Dick and Barbara from one another, but also created a dangerous new enemy who has Batgirl in her sights.
Hope Larson’s first issue gives us just enough of the story to really get us hooked, but promises much more. It’s exciting to see that Batgirl’s new storyline has clearly been planned out so carefully from the beginning. By intercutting scenes of Barbara both in the present and in the past, we see the evolution of one of the most inspirational DC heroines in a new way, and Larson is able to demonstrate how years of crime fighting has impacted her. Everything about the way the comic is written and illustrated is new and compelling and I say without reservation that I give Batgirl: Rebirth my highest recommendation.
Cover: 5 Stars
Art: 5 Stars
Dialogue: 5 Stars
Plot/Story: 5 Stars
Rating: 5 Stars
(W) Hope Larson (A) Chris Wildgoose (CA) Dan Mora