Batgirl #22Confession time.  I’ve not been overly impressed with DC’s New 52 Batgirl. I love Gail Simone, but something just seems to be missing for me. It seems Barbara Gordon can’t catch a break, so it was nice to have an issue that helps the reader see her as a typical young woman who has a life outside of crime fighting and all of the burdens that brings with it.

To recap briefly. in the beginning, Gordon was constantly questioning her ability to fight crime since regaining the use of her legs. She managed to build her confidence for a few issues before being faced with the Joker: the one responsible for putting her in the chair in the first place. Adding to her anxiety was the return of her long lost mom and the knowledge that her brother, crazier and more dangerous than ever, was also in town and looking to cause her as much anguish as possible, going so far as to date her new roommate, Alysia. None of this ended well for Barbara, and her life seems to be plummeting ever faster into a depression that appears to have no ending.

Back to the present with issue #22, “A Day in a Life of Endless Velocity”, and we finally see Gordon not as Batgirl, but as a young woman attempting to have a somewhat normal life.  While Gordon’s “date” with an ex-criminal, Ricky, starts out a bit shaky with both of them having to fight off a group of drug dealers, it progresses and ends on a good note.

Is Barbara Really Done?

Is Barbara Really Done?

The real heart of the issue, however, comes when Barbara meets her dad, Commissioner Gordon, for lunch and a conversation. The commissioner is unaware, of course, that his one surviving child is in fact Batgirl, and the one responsible of killing her brother several issues back. It is during a trip to the firing range (Barbara hates guns and her dad knows this) that Barbara comes to the decision that she can’t live this life anymore. A tearful Barbara, overcome with grief and guilt, proclaims to no one but herself “I can’t do this to him. I won’t do that to him. It’s over. Batgirl is dead.” And not a moment to soon, as later Commissioner Gordon pledges to Batman to hunt down Batgirl and make her pay for her crime.

This issue give us a glimpse into who Barbara Gordon really is, without the costume, and it has helped me see Batgirl in a different light. As a superhero, I was always somewhat perturbed by Batgirl’s constant feelings of uncertainty and even fear. Not that she didn’t always come through in the end, but I want this character to be strong, even in the face of adversity. This issue certainly helped me to see her for who she really is.  A daughter who loves her father very much and does not want to cause him more pain than she already has, and a young woman who wants to have a degree of normalcy in her life.

I will anxiously await the next issue to see where her proclamations lead her.

About The Author

My name is Dianna, and I hail from the land of the lakes, aka Michigan. My full time job has me running a writing center, teaching writing classes (hopefully soon teaching a comics course), and doing all sorts of techy things, since that’s what I did in a previous life.

At this point in my life, comics are both my passion and my research. I am lucky in that I get to combine my passion into my everyday work. But here at Destroy the Cyborg I get to have fun and chat about what I'm reading. Feel free to chime in on my post, even if it's to tell my how dead wrong I got something.

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