Tagged: Birds of Prey

Graphic Spotlight – BATGIRL VOL. 1: BEYOND BURNSIDE

Batgirl’s world tour starts here!

No corner of the DC Universe hasn’t been touched by the events of Rebirth. For most all of DC’s titles it’s been an incredible fresh slate, not a reboot, but a new point to jump on and take the characters towards stories that feel earned, logical, self-contained without being disconnected, and delivering some the strongest stories from the publisher in a long time and on time. DC’s promise of a new direction for its characters in a way that doesn’t discount the last five years while still providing a new jumping on point for new or casual fans continues in the first collection of Batgirl’s newest adventures, Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside.

Barbara Gordon’s return to the cape and cowl was met with great trepidation back in the old days (you know, 2011). Gail Simone wrote a three year story of healing, both physically and emotionally, grounding Barbara in overcoming the trauma that put her in a wheelchair for years of her life. It was a tricky line to walk and Simone began with a good jumping off point that grew into one of the best books DC was publishing. Then came the pop-tastic makeover by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and artist Babs Tarr.

Barbara was given a neighborhood of Gotham to call her own, the eponymous Burnside. It was a fresh new take on Babs and her world, where she was a brilliant student and a superhero establishing her own independence from the Bat-family.

Now, New York Times best-selling creators Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time) and Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) will take Batgirl on a journey to elevate her skills. The trek will include stops in hotspots like Okinawa, Singapore, Seoul, and even Shanghai. Everywhere she goes, Batgirl’s life will be threatened by lethal warriors who all bear a mysterious mark indicating “The Student.” Which, of course, baits the question that if there are students, Batgirl will need to track down their teacher…

As Batgirl goes on her own international hunt for the leader of this mysterious group of fighters, she’ll improve her own skills and cross paths with legendary heroes. If you’ve been waiting for Barbara Gordon to ascend into the grander scale of the superhero community then the wait is over.

Collects Batgirl #1-6

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #1

BG_Cv1_57082d25dc1793.92171144Batgirl #1

Hope Larson, Rafeal Albuquerque, Dave McCaig

DC $2.99

I’ll be honest; going into Batgirl #1, I was worried about the character and the direction they were taking her post Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, & Babs Tarr. There were multiple quotes from writer Hope Larson saying how this run was going to be darker, and while I like Rafeal Albuquerque‘s art, the last time he drew this incarnation of Batgirl there was bit of a thing. Also the white person walking around Asia to learn kung-fu is a trope that at best is cliche, and at worst a bit racist. That being said, reading this first issue has vanquished my fear and we instead get a pretty solid comic that’s mindful of my concerns.

The new Rebirth debut issue sees Babs Gordon in Japan, in search of an old-timey Japanese super hero named Fruit Bat, in order to up her own heroic game. While doing so, batgirl-1-preview-675x1024she runs across her never previously mentioned but apparently old friend Kai, as well as a Fuku-wearing assassin. While long-lost friends and school girl looking assassins were something covered extensively in the previous run, Hope Larson and Rafeal Albuquerque are talented enough creators to make this whole thing seem fresh.

Larson’s voice for Barbara Gordon is sharp enough to keep left over readers from the previous run pleased, but also comforting for lapsed reader who are coming back. Her Batgirl reads a little more focused and mature, but also fun and playful. It’s the best sort of compromise. While not all of the jokes in this issue land, Larson does a great job of building a new setting and status quo for Barbara, setting up the future of this title quite nicely. And granted Kai nor the nameless assassin we get in this issue do very little for me, the introduction of the Fruit Bat definitely makes for fun stuff.

Artist Rafael Albuquerque is definitely a more traditional super hero comics artist than Babs Tarr is, but with that being said, the book still maintains a youthful and fun visual tone. He does some excellent work with the body language and facial expressions in this book, and I love the energy he puts into his fight scenes. I also love the way Albuquerque portrays motion in a medium full of static imagery, as he’s  not afraid to experiment with BG01_03panel layouts and it leads to some great results. Dave McCaig’s colors are also a great fit for this book, as he sticks with bright colors that play off of Barbara’s costume and hair quite well.

Batgirl #1 is a fun first issue that doesn’t change the title character too much, and does a find job to appealing to several different types of audiences. It does an excellent job of showing the fun side of super heroics, with some dialogue that a little more polish and way less dramatic than the Babs we saw in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Old and new readers have plenty to like with this new creative team, making it arguably one of the more accessibly DC super hero comics to come out of Rebirth so far.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl & the Birds of Prey #1

tumblr_o4ysvnCGRp1rm4afao1_1280Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth

Julie and Shawna Benson, Claire Roe, Allen Passalaqua

DC $2.99

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve enjoyed a Birds of Prey comic. The Chuck Dixon and 1st Gail Simone runs on the title are some of my favorite DC comics, starring a bunch of my favorites like Barbara Gordon and the Huntress. The less said about the live action TV series it’s inspired however, the better.

DC Rebirth has lead to the revival of the title, re-teaming Batgirl & Black Canary with Huntress, again, for the first time. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen DC flirt with BoP as a title since the new 52 debut, but it is the first time we’ve seen the iconic line up together since 2011.

Speaking of the CW and BoP, while I didn’t bother reading the New 52 incarnation of BoP, I have been watching The 100 over the last few years. Julie and Shawna Benson are writers on that show, and are now writing this title. There I have explained the segue, let’s continue with this . Their dialogue tends to lend on the dramatic side, but it’s still solid enough. They do a good job of tying together events from the past and upcoming Batgirl run, Black Canary’s recent series, and the events the unfolded during Grayson/Nightwing Rebirth. They also give Babs an New 52/Rebirth origin for Oracle, which sadly undoes the 5330745-bgbopreb_1_4attempts to write out The Killing Joke. The Bensons do a good job of setting up their arc in 20 pages,  with this book working at break neck speed. Hopefully the can tone down the dramatic dialogue in future installments, as I found myself saying “No one speaks like that” several times.

On the art we have Claire Roe and Allen Passalaqua. Clare Roe isn’t a bad artist, and the potential for her to be a great fit for this title is there. Her body language and layouts are pretty strong, it’s that she struggles a bit with the faces. Batgirl is the biggest victim of this, as occasionally her eyes or teeth are too big for my liking. Allen Passalaqua’s colors are good, especially in the scene introducing Huntress in this issue. Also I’m not sure who designed Hunteress’ new gear, but man it looks great. It’s a good art team, and I’m sure the more familiar Roe gets with this cast, the better it will be.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey is your all purpose set up issue, and it’s a perfectly fine one at that. The Bensons do a fine job of introducing these characters to new, lapse or returning readers, and do fine job of giving each Bird their own distinctive voice and motive. Impressive work for their comics debut. And again, while Roe’s art didn’t really do much for me with this debut, the potential for improvement is definitely there. I do think that it it’s pretty cool that we have an all-female writer and artist team on this book, which is the first time it’s happen since the Simone/Nicola Scott days. Batgirl and the BoP is off to a good enough start, and the book is interesting enough to have me coming back next month.

 

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Countdown to New York Comic Con part 1

By Chris Troy

HOWDY FPNYC FAITHFUL!  We are only a few short days away from New York Comic Con, and as of the time of writing, FPNYC is SOLD OUT of all passes for the biggest comic & pop culture convention on the Northeastern Coast (Fairly certain east coast as well, but there’s a small chance that I may be wrong). Myself and Loran will be at the con all weekend (well Loran for a day), covering the convention for Bleedingcool.com and tweeting 140 character one liners over at @anarchris if you want to keep tabs on the convention and see what X-Men related characters I dress up as during the weekend (yup, cosplay is happening).

For the first time at the  convention, Hasbro is finally showing NYCC some love by hooking the con up with not 1, but 2 Marvel exclusives for the show. Representing the Marvel Universe line is the “Compound Hulk“, who appeared in a single issue of Jeff Parker‘s current run of “The Hulk” title. Much like the silver age Composite Superman-Batman, Compound Hulk is half Green Hulk, half Red Hulk, possibly the strongest there is. Possibly. And why SDCC got a exclusive Avengers themed Mini-Mugg box set, NYCC gets one based on the 90s crossover “Maximum Carnage.” This mini-5 packs gives us Carnage, Eddie Brock/Venom, Spider-Man, Demogoblin, and J. Jonah Jameson, with mean this 5 pack is a menace and a threat (to my wallet!), and well worth the money already. Continue reading

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