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Dave Green's Read Alerts

My hobbies include just about anything, really...except reading, I hate reading! Kidding of course, reading is my favorite hobby! I love not only reading, but creative writing as well. I'm currently working on a novel about a group of paranormal social workers who try to help creatures like themselves cope with being different while also protecting humanity from the more malevolent beings. Other hobbies include music, yoga, comedy clubs, movies, and video games. I read from just about any genre, but my favorites are fantasy/urban fantasy, mystery, science fiction, and graphic novels (that's what us comic-book geeks call them to try to sound more sophisticated). In my secret identity, I work as an accountant for a nonprofit organization . I know...accounting and creative writing don't exactly go together...what can I say, I'm full of contradictions! My rating system: 5 STARS - I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't wait to finish it, yet I also never wanted it to end! 4 STARS - I liked this book an awful lot! It would have been perfect, except for some minor issue or issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment. 3 STARS - I liked this book, but found it somewhat flawed. Probably would not read again, but might still give the author and/or series a second chance. 2 STARS - Overall, a disappointing read for me. It had its moments, but sadly the bad outweighed the good. 1 STAR - I hate the part of my brain that convinced me to read this book!

Currently reading

Queen and Country: A Gentleman's Game
Greg Rucka
Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection - Gail Simone, Vicente Cifuentes, Ardian Syaf I went into the New 52's "Batgirl" series with very mixed feelings. On the one hand, I enjoyed many stories with the Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown Batgirls, and I was saddened to see those stories apparently wiped out of existence. Also, I was a huge fan of the stellar Birds of Prey runs by Chuck Dixon & Gail Simone, so again, the idea that DC was reversing all of that didn't sit too well with me.

On the other hand, I've never been a fan of Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke", the story in which Barbara Gordon was shot through the spine and lost the use of her legs. Barbara's only function in that particular story was that of a victim, and considering she was almost never seen in the Bat-books for several years after TKJ, it was pretty obvious the Bat-editors originally had no intention to do anything more with the Barbara Gordon character...although they were more than happy to try to take most of the credit after Kim Yale & John Ostrander brilliantly reinvented Barbara as the computer hacker Oracle in "Suicide Squad" (a book that was not part of the Batman line and was not edited by any of the Batman books' creative force). Add to that Alan Moore's claim that Barbara Gordon's treatment in TKJ came about after an editor told him to "cripple the bitch", it's always left me questioning exactly how much misogyny was running rampant throughout DC at the time, so to me, the reversal of the events of TKJ felt like a triumph for women in the comic-book world.

So, as I said, I had very mixed feelings going into the first volume of Batgirl, and now that I've read it...well, I STILL have mixed feelings!

Overall, I was somewhat disappointed with Batgirl. Compared to Gail Simone's incredible work on series like "Birds of Prey" and "Secret Six", this just paled in comparison. The two main villains in this collection, "The Mirror" and "Gretel" suffered from "trying-too-hard" syndrome, where Simone had them ranting like lunatics in order to make them seem creepy, but it was so over-the-top, it just felt cartoonish instead. Sometimes the dialogue was so corny, it led to me inventing a new acronym...GOL (groaning-out-loud)! An early sequence in which Barbara says "I found you, babies" as she's about to confront a gang of killers is particularly cringe-inducing. And it's hard to take the stories too seriously, considering there are some absurd loopholes throughout. When Batgirl is unable to prevent The Mirror from killing a cop, why is the cop's partner so obsessed with bringing in Batgirl, instead of, y'know, the ACTUAL MURDERER?!? After being hired to kill Bruce Wayne, why does Gretel just stand in the background (while holding two weapons, mind you) when a brainwashed Bruce seems to be completely vulnerable?!?

That said, there are also moments of Gail Simone's trademark brilliance throughout the story as well. Barbara Gordon comes across as far more human than most comic-book characters. She suffers from post-traumatic stress as a result of the events in TKJ. She isn't ready to forgive the mother who walked out on her years ago. But while she may not be perfect, she also exhibits more compassion than normally seen by comic-book characters. Whereas most superheroes quickly disappear after stopping a crime, after Batgirl saves a couple from a gang of muggers, she offers to stay with them until the police arrive (pretty brave, considering one police detective in particular is obsessed with arresting her). After defeating Gretel, she asks the authorities to be gentle with her, as she is sympathetic to Gretel's pain. These traits make Barbara an incredibly likeable character, one that the reader truly cares about and feels for.

So, ultimately, Batgirl as a series is somewhat lacking, but Batgirl as a CHARACTER is absolutely amazing!