Batgirl 1: The Darkest Reflection

batgirl volume 1 the darkest reflection cover trade paperback tpb new 52
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10

Barbara Gordon back as Batgirl

Wish it had more of a classic villain in the first collection

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Batgirl (Volume 3)

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Gail Simone

Artist:  Ardian Syaf

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:   2012

batgirl #3 cover new 52

Batgirl (3) #3

Reprints Batgirl (3) #1-6 (November 2011-April 2012).  Batgirl is back on the streets and trying to find her feet…literally.  After years of being confined to a wheelchair after the Joker’s attack, a miracle cure has allowed Barbara Gordon to walk again.  Trying to adjust to adjust to a new home and roommate, Barbara faces a threat in a new villain named Mirror, but Batman could prove a greater challenge when a new villain named Gretel appears in Gotham City.

Written by Gail Simone, Batgirl Volume 1:  The Darkest Reflection is part of DC Comics’ New 52 relaunch of the DC Universe following Flashpoint.  The collection features art by Ardian Syaf.  The comic  was well received by critics and fans.

Batgirl brings Barbara Gordon back as Batgirl from her time as Oracle.  I always liked Batgirl and thought she was a fun flipside to Batman.  Batgirl places Barbara Gordon firmly back in the Bat-Family.

Having the “original” Batgirl back was a big deal.  The real first Batgirl first appeared in Batman (1) #139 (April 1961) and was introduced as Kathy Kane’s niece Bette (in an attempt to dispel homosexuality accusation in Seduction of Innocence between Batman and Robin).  The Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl didn’t show up until a joint collaboration between  the Batman television series and comic creators to make a new Batgirl and had her first appearing in Detective Comics (1) #359 (January 1967).  In the Batman:  The Killing Joke (June 1988), Barbara Gordon was crippled by the Joker when she was shot in the stomach.  This left her in a wheelchair (longer than she was actually Batgirl) but Barbara soon developed into Oracle (first “appearing” in Suicide Squad (1) #23)…a computer master that helped linked the superheroes.

batgirl #5 cover new 52

Batgirl (3) #5

Many critics saw this new series as a shot at a positive character with a handicap.  Simone (who wrote Oracle a lot in Birds of Prey) however hasn’t eliminated that Barbara was in a wheelchair and it still is an important part of the story.  The whole “how Barbara is walking again” isn’t really covered in the comic storyline although it is touched on.

Ardian Syat does a nice job as artist in the series.  Syat gives real life to the character.  The series is a good balance of action scenes and personal moments.  I would like to see how Syat does with a real supervillain…It was nice to see Batman, but I want Batgirl against a real villain with Syat’s art.

Batgirl is another one of the good New 52 series.  It has a great main character with a lot of history and fun art to back up the story.  She provides a “Batman” without the darkness of Batman (which is an aspect of Batman I never really loved).  Once against a Batman supporting character proves they can fly on their own, and I hope that Robin gets another shot at a series in the New 52 as a result.  Batgirl 1:  The Darkest Reflection is followed by Batgirl 2:  Knightfall Descends.

Related Links:

Batgirl 2:  Knightfall Descends

Batgirl 3:  Death of the Family

Batgirl 4:  Wanted

Batgirl 5:  Deadline

Batgirl 1:  Batgirl of Burnside

Batgirl 2:  Family Business

Batgirl 3:  Mindfields

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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