Batgirl: The Flood
by Bryan Q. Miller, Lee Garbett, Pere Perez (DC Comics, 2011)

It's kind of sad, how good this book is.

DC Comics has floundered for years with the Batgirl character. It was a bold choice to cripple Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, and then reinvent her as the wheelchair-bound heroine Oracle. But efforts to recreate her success as Batgirl fell short of the mark ... until Stephanie Brown filled the role.

This, the second collected book in the series, makes me a little sad because I know it doesn't last. DC, as everyone must know by now, decided to reboot its entire universe, and one of its poorer choices was to abruptly heal Gordon of a shattered spine and put her back on the streets, fighting crime like she did in the old days.

I could rant a bit about how the comics industry should stop moving backwards all the time -- DC and Marvel both, for instance, have undone major characters' marriages, simply because they decided stories would be more interesting if they were single -- but it would be a wasted effort. Let's just try to enjoy what we have, and in this case that's a pretty good book featuring the blond-haired Batgirl facing off against the Calculator (and his hordes of binary-driven zombies), Clayface and, with the aid of a visiting Supergirl, a couple dozen escaped cinematic Draculas. Really.

Writer Bryan Q. Miller seems to have a good handle on the fun-loving aspect of Batgirl, a ray of sunshine after her grim predecessor. She fights and quips with a zest for her job -- she seems truly enthusiastic about it at every turn -- and her partnership with Oracle provides an important link to the original Batgirl. There's a strong supporting cast, too. Artists Lee Garbett and Pere Perez are excellent artists and do this book credit. All in all, a good package.

I just wish it had lasted. But no, let's not risk actual character development when we can simply turn back the clock and go back to what worked before....

review by
Tom Knapp

11 February 2012

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