Hello, everyone. For those of you new to my blog, my name is Joshua. Today I will be reviewing the Batgirl of Burnside graphic novel series, consisting of three separate volumes: Volume 1: Batgirl of Burnside, Volume 2: Family Business, and Volume 3: Mindfields. I originally found these graphic novels while shopping at Barnes & Noble. My first reaction was, “Wow! A Batgirl who doesn’t have extremely unrealistic body proportions!” Typically when you see Batgirl or practically any other female comic book character, they have seemingly “perfect” bodies and give women the idea that they have to look a special way to attract men. Well gone are the spandex of yesterday because now, Batgirl is no longer a sex image, but an independent woman! What also caught my eye was the beautiful and magnificent artwork done by the incredible artist Babs Tarr. Another thing that was really spectacular about this graphic novel was the beautifully woven together storyline, fitting in characters from various parts of the DC Universe while still keeping its own fresh story. Now that we’ve completed the overview of the graphic novels, let’s dive into the story behind them, without (too many) spoilers.
- Volume 1: Batgirl of Burnside
- Synopsis: We start off with the opening volume of this three-part series. Batgirl, or Barbara Gordon (as she’s known outside of hero work) has moved to Burnside, a neighborhood on the other side of Gotham City. We now enter the chic and modern world of today, complete with smartphones, modern day fashion, and even a startup dating website. Barbara Gordon parts ways with her old roommate, Alysia Yeoh, and begins life with her new roommate, Frankie Charles, a spunky, charismatic, and techy woman who Barbara met after becoming (temporarily) paralyzed from the waist down. Immediately Barbara is thrown into the party life of Burnside, waking up in the morning and finding that her computer has disappeared! To make matters worse, Dinah Drake (Black Canary) is homeless after a fire has burned down her home and storage facility, the same storage facility with all of Barbara’s Batgirl equipment. Now Barbara must work her way back up the superhero ladder, tackling various villains including Riot Black, the Jawbreakers, Dagger Type, and even herself! Along the way, Barbara meets new friends, including the hopeless romantic Jeremy, the fashionable Nadimah, and the tech nerd Qadir.
- Review: Volume 1: Batgirl of Burnside is by far my favorite volume of the series. From the start, Batgirl of Burnside pulls you into the world of Batgirl and provides an entirely new plot with new villains and characters that help engross you into the story. Batgirl of Burnside is beautifully and wonderfully written and showcases Batgirl in a fun and playful yet still strong and independent way that helps us feel closer to her character and makes her feel like more of a superhero than ever before. Batgirl of Burnside also creates an incredible overall story arc, making you guess who the villain that is hunting down Batgirl really is until you realize that it was really Batgirl all along (or a different form of her former self).
- Volume 2: Family Business
- Synopsis: Barbara Gordon returns as Batgirl, immediately pulling us back into the world of hero fighting. Lots of new characters appear, including Velvet Tiger, Gladius, and even Batman himself! Meanwhile, Batgirl deals with the return of an old (and seemingly dead) friend, Dick Grayson, all while courting the handsome Luke Fox.
- Review: While Volume 2: Family Business still packs a ton of action and adventure, it doesn’t quite live up to the beauty and magnificence of Volume 1: Batgirl of Burnside. However, Volume 2: Family Business still provides lots of suspense, surprises, and romance that keeps you begging for more. The graphic novel also incorporates different story lines from various graphic novel series, including Gotham Academy and Grayson. Barbara Gordon also continues to be her quirky yet magnificent self, providing excellent fighting style and flirtatious advances towards various characters, torn between revisiting an old love or starting a new one.
- Volume 3: Mindfields
- Synopsis: Volume 3: Mindfields picks up directly where Volume 2: Family Business left off. Batgirl continues to fight for the safety and protection of the great people of Burnside, all while dealing with strange nightmares and the loss of her memories. Eventually, Batgirl must face the ultimate test, battling villains of old and a new and wicked villain, bent on destroying Burnside and stopping Batgirl at all costs. Volume 3: Mindfields will leave you just as confused and lost as Batgirl, engrossing you in the life of the protagonist.
- Review: Volume 3: Mindfields leaves the readers guessing who is mysteriously taking Batgirl’s memories and why. While Volume 3: Mindfields is an excellent finish to the three-part series, it still has its flaws. For starters, the entire plot of this volume is confusing, leaving you feeling disoriented and lost until the end. While the authors may have intended to do this in order to help the reader become more connected with Batgirl, it ultimately leaves the reader in a daze, waiting to find out the truth behind Batgirl’s memory loss. Volume 3: Mindfields truly draws readers into the story, but misses the mark execution wise. However, Volume 3: Mindfields does a fantastic job of wrapping up the entire mini-series, leaving the characters and story open ended to the possibility of future storylines.
Final Thoughts: Batgirl of Burnside is a truly incredible work of art, and the authors Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher truly deserve to be praised for creating a new and original storyline to help connect Batgirl to a new modern age with today’s technology, fashion, and ideas. While the quality of the mini-series did deteriorate somewhat over its run, it still provided an amazing and terrific story, complete with a new wave of exciting and interesting characters, along with the magnificent reimagining of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, making her a new and spectacular modern icon. I truly recommend Batgirl of Burnside to anybody who enjoys reading graphic novels or is new to comic books and just enjoys strong and independent characters with deep and intriguing storylines.
Rating: ♥♥♥♥ out of ♥♥♥♥♥
Thank you so much for reading my review on the Batgirl of Burnside. Be sure to comment and check back daily for new and interesting reviews on films, books, and much more. If you would like to suggest to me an idea for a review or have comments or concerns, please contact me below.
– Joshua the Reviewer