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Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (The…

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (The New 52) (edition 2012)

by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf (Illustrator)

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1911261,769 (3.71)5
Title:Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (The New 52)
Authors:Gail Simone
Other authors:Ardian Syaf (Illustrator)
Info:DC Comics (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 144 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Batgirl Volume 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone



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I'm not normally a Batgirl fan, but I picked this one up because it was available at the elibrary and I had some time when I could only read on a computer that I couldn't download anything to or access Scribd, no phone or tablet available. It's weird, I know, but not the important part. So I found Batgirl and gave it a go.

It was entertaining in that action movie kind of way. There were some things I liked about it, like the action itself and the few sweet scenes between Batgirl and people who had been significant figures during her first foray as a crime fighting vigilante. There was her extensive internal monologue. It that attempted to humanize her and give her depth. It fell a little flat emotionally, but it was close enough to engaging that it didn't effect the way I felt about the book as a whole. I just kept hoping for it to lead to something a little more engaging. Her feelings about everything were just so expected. No surprises, and that kept it from being fun for me. However, I did appreciate the way her prior experiences as Batgirl, like when she was shot, effected her current reactions to things. Having had her past issues, she was constantly aware that she wasn't invincible. That's where the internal monologue didn't help, I felt like there was too much of it in the middle of some fight scenes. At the same time, the internal monologue was interesting in other scenes.

There were two things that came close to completely ruining it for me, as far as being interesting in a more than fleeting way. There was the way this was put together. Most of the time, a volume is one story in it's entirety. This one was two. There were two separate antagonists whose stories don't even overlap. The only reason I can think of for why these stories are smashed together in this volume is because each story isn't enough for a volume of it's own but that doesn't help me like it better. There's a place for a shorter story, and even collections, but I didn't even feel like these two help each other out.

Part of my problem with them being smashed together is that they both seem to make the same point, which just made the second story feel redundant. Yeah, there are nuanced little differences between the two villains, but they played her antagonist in pretty much the same way. There was nothing particularly fun about either of them. They were sad, the kind of villain I feel sorry for more than one that I just enjoy the villainy of.

As a set up for the rest of the series, it doesn't leave me with a clear expectation for the tone or direction of character development. I don't feel like she's going to spend much more time wondering if she's ready to be back in the suit and there's plenty of Bat family drama to go around but how much of her story is about guilt and this other Gordon family drama is questionable enough that I'm going to pass on continuing. Still, it wasn't too bad and it had its redeeming qualities. Like the art.

I almost gave it two stars on account of all the stuff I didn't really like about the story, but this is a comic and the art has it's own voice here. The art was great. It was in the details. Bodies look like bodies, not oversexualized into ridiculous representations of the human form. Gotham appeared to be the thinnest city in the country, but the individual forms didn't even come close to the border of ridiculous. Batgirl/Barbara is pretty without being unrealistic and she didn't feel "made for the male gaze" if you know what I mean. The poses for the fight scenes were great too, especially in the scene where she is actively thinking about the differences in the training she received and that of the person she is fighting, the art helps the point come across by showing those differences. It turned out that the fight poses from the beginning play right into where she knows she obtained her style rather than those ridiculous sexy poses that I've seen other comics get slammed for. Of course, that doesn't account for the angle of the pose, which does get a little crazy on rare occasions.

All that said, it's not a comic I would get for anyone under teen due to the content of the story. I feel like the art would have been okay for a younger crowd, but the story is a little too dark for that. ( )
  Calavari | Sep 28, 2016 |
This Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, the classic one everyone was harping for before the reboot and everyone was cursing when this was announced. First thing to note is that "The Killing Joke" did occur so she was paralyzed and she was Oracle but now she's been healed.

Barbara Gordon is handled by the only person suitable to handle Barbara Gordon's return, Gail Simone, the writer who made her name by establishing the modern Barbara Gordon. This Barbara Gordon is very interesting as she's coping with getting out of the wheelchair, finally, and returning to crimefighting. She's out of her game and trying to regain the confidence that was shattered by the Joker.

The first villain is decent and seems fitting. The Mirror does a great job at challenging the heroine on multiple levels, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally by making her doubt her recovery. This makes the heroine interesting and the villain threatening.

The dialogue is well done and scenes are being set into place for later stories. Artwork is excellent with the mirror shots being really nice to look at. It also makes the fight scenes clear and interesting.

The second villain is not very memorable and if I didn't look up her name I wouldn't be able to tell you. She has an interesting backstory but she feels like a throwaway and we'll probably never see her again. She doesn't add much, but at least I could still enjoy the comic because of the main character, something that I find hard to do with Batman comics since the villains are always the best part. The story is interesting simply because the character is interesting. ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 31, 2016 |
Medianíssimo. ( )
  Ritinha_ | Aug 26, 2015 |
I feel like reading one of DC's current series, and chose this one for a variety of unimportant reasons. So far, it's unmemorable, but perfectly okay. There's potential, and I think I'll keep going with it. ( )
  comfypants | Nov 30, 2014 |
Okay. So, Barbara Gordon didn't get permanently paralyzed and become Oracle exactly anymore. Instead, in this New 52 Batgirl reboot, after getting shot in L1 and being paralyzed for 3 years she's regained the ability to walk through some sort of miracle cure-ish thing, and she's back to being Batgirl (As an aside. Although I love what Simone has done with this title here, I still miss Oracle terribly).

So, there's a new psycho in Gotham. (actually in this TPB there are a couple of different new Gotham villains). The Mirror, (or Mirror Man, I wasn't quite sure what his name was). And Gretal. Both were interesting and definitely had different stories.

I also thought that how they interspersed how Barbara went from paralyzed to walking was good. It was given in dribs and drabs. I also really liked the interactions that happened with Batgirl and Batwoman, Batgirl and Batman, Batgirl and Nightwing.

But (aside from me wishing that Barbara was still Oracle) some of the Batgirl angst over her walking/not walking, the cure, etc, seemed to overwhelm the rest of the story. ( )
1 vote DanieXJ | Nov 25, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gail Simoneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cifuentes, VicenteInker, Additional Pencilsmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Syaf, ArdianIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Collects: BATGIRL 1-6.
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Mirror, the nightmare-inducing brute, is destroying the lives of Gotham City citizens seemingly at random. A new chapter in the riveting adventures of "Batgirl" continue in stunning fashion.

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