Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Colours: Dave McCaig
When you need to take a break, sometimes going on a holiday with some adventure is just what is required. But Barbara Gordon didn’t expect the kind of adventures she’d be having on her trip to Japan. She finds her past isn’t so easy to escape from in Batgirl: Rebirth #1
Barbara, deciding to take a break from her busy life, goes to Tokyo on holiday. She plans to track down an old Japanese super heroine who went by the name Fruit Bat. (Perhaps a name that sounds more intimidating in Japanese) While here she finds that her roommate in her hostile just happens to be a young friend from her past Kai, who also happens to be finding himself on a journey much like Batgirl. Though perhaps there is more to Kai than it seems on the surface.
As a restart to the Batgirl series, this issue works quite well. It gives you a quick recap into Batgirl’s life in case you aren’t familiar with it as we thrust her into a completely new setting. It allows for complete freedom – what we experience as a reader, either new or old, is completely new and no longer tied past issues. Fruit Bat is set up to be an interesting potential new mentor for Batgirl, so there could be yet another bat joining the family. We also get a rather clunky exposition into Batgirl’s eidetic memory too. It’s a decent issue – a little clunky with its pacing, though it focuses more on getting to know Batgirl as a character than anything else. Despite its faults, Batgirl: Rebirth #1 is a still a fun comic to read with a decent sense of humour. It’s a nice easy read to relax with.
Art wise Batgirl isn’t anything to write home about. It’s bright and colourful, going well with Batgirl’s more cheerful approach in life and the story’s overall lighter tone. The expression the characters make can get a little over the top and sometimes Barbara doesn’t even look like the same person in certain panels. The slice of life adventure that she goes on at the start of the issue is perhaps the better half as the action, while short, let’s this piece down. Drawing characters in action poses, when limited to frames can be hard but some of the poses that Batgirl makes are almost nonsensical. She goes from jumping off nothing, with her knees tucked into her chest, to landing like she just did a ballerina leap, from the air, to dodge a kick. There doesn’t seem to have been anything for her to jump off in the first place either. But just as it fights, the Japanese Sailor Clown prances away herself, jumping from drum to drum in a marching band they were fighting in the middle of instead of just running away like a normal person. Thankfully some kid with a dodgeball happens to standing next to all this for Batgirl to use. It’s such a contrived fight scene it just seems comical and out-of-place.
The first half of Batgirl: Rebirth #1 is a fun story that let’s you get to see more of Barbra than of Batgirl, but when she slips into that cowl that’s when it gets really silly. It never explains how both she and Fruit Bat had the time to get changed into their elaborate costumes. Her friend gets attacked and in less than half a minute Barbra ditches her backpack and slips into her costume. If only I could get ready so fast in the mornings.