Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Batgirl #2

Series: Batgirl
Words: Gail Simone
Images: Adrian Syaf, Vincent Cifuentes
Issue Number: 2
Release Date: In reality October 12th but our cover reads December 2011
Format: Comic

With the first issue I had a whole ton of concerns about Batgirl. Especially in terms of Barbara Gordon's ability to walk again. I just read the second issue while the mister and I were driving to his parents place. Luckily he was the on actually driving. In terms of disability? I am a little more reassured at this point. I am still not happy about the lack of people with disabilities in DC but Gail Simone has not used the reboot to magically sweep it under the rug. There is mention of the character not physically being able to maintain stunts and fights because while her spinal injury has greatly improved her physical stamina is still lacking. I am slightly reassured by this. I am still sulking a little bit (I hate change) but I'm also really excited to read more.

PTSD and Babs also has not magically disappeared especially with lines like "He pointed that gun at me, just where the Joker tore up my spine three years ago and I froze... the gun triggered something I thought was long over" A fairly classic symptom of PTSD is experiencing either a flash back or a dissociation when presented with stimuli that resemble or remind of the traumatic incident.

 One of the few things that took me out of the story is Babs going on a date with her physical therapist. There is no way in heck this guy could have any sort of relationship with Babs and it be okay with his registration board. As an allied health professional who works in the disability field it gave me pause. If you do not work in the field well then it will probably be a none issue for you. In retrospect I can understand why Simone opted to approach a relationship with the physical therapist. It gives more chances for her to explore some of the back story of how Babs' got from a wheel chair to standing. Gregor's background means that some context. Comments can be made about how sometimes with spinal cord injuries the unexpected does happen but it is very rare making this a much more realistic process.

I am very pleased to see that the return of Batgirl has not meant we have lost the strengths she had as Oracle. Physically unable to take the villain down Babs has to resort to her brains. Her ability to research and her ability to make computers do magical and wonderful things that no one else in Gotham or the D.C. universe can do.

Simone also made some commentary on class and social inequality during this issue of Batgirl that really impressed me. Slipped into the story are little gems along the lines of "... The only cemetery in downtown Gotham that hasn't been demolished. Oh, they've tried. Real estate developers have made a multitude of heatbreaingly sincere please to disinter the occupants of this place. Because we need more shopping and parking, you see. But it turns out, rich people don't like the idea of their loved ones switching accommodations for a new frogurt boutique. And unlike poor people who feel that way... they have the juice to make it not happen. Even here, there is a class system in Gotham." I am pleased to see more and more comic book authors making sociopolitical commentary.

I am really enjoying the level of depth given to the characters in Batgirl. I do have to confess that this issue of Batgirl made me cry. wince and smile. I found myself sniffling at the villain's back story. I have to admit he is quickly becoming one of my recent favorites among villains.

Again the colours and art were impressive. I love how the dark grey of Gotham is broken up with flashes of purple, a bright blue, and green tones consistently though the entire issue. The physical design of women in this comic has continued to impress me. There are more realistically sized. Babs has actual muscle and tone. There were a lot of moments where some of the great character development could have been set back by sexualized depictions of character taking away from Simone's work of developing her. Luckily for the story, the experience and the reader the Ardian Syaf and Vincente Cifuentes masterfully and smoothly avoided doing so.

The comics seem to be going fast. Some people on twitter have started saying that stores are sold out. If you like interesting female leads with a varied supporting cast I would suggest checking out Batgirl.

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