Now this is a little more like what I expected out of Rebirth #1's. Unlike Green Lantern which took the audience's knowledge of the ridiculously convoluted last few years of Hal Jordan storytelling, Batgirl and BOP gives you a pretty concise and clear explanation of the rebooted Batgirl/Oracle story, both in terms of general events and the emotional arc of the character. If you'd never read Batgirl before, this book serves as a pretty decent light primer to get you onboard with what is happening now. There's a new story, a new dynamic, and a freshly reformed team. You want to jump onboard? Here's your chance. It's not great though.
Batgirl is being Batgirl, the Burnside version that is, with Barbara Gordon's life experience but the physical appearance and vocabulary of a senior in high school. One of the only jokes I actually thought was clever from How I Met Your Mother hypothesized that you could estimate someone's age by their degree of fondness for Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, I suggest the same can be said for the Buffy-fication of Barbara Gordon. Having grown up with Babs as a serious minded tech-genius playing backup keyboard for the 90's era Batfam, seeing her slip back in mental maturity isn't as much offensive to me as much as creating a completely different character that I have no vested interest in. She's Ultimate Batgirl in the main DCU, take it or leave it.
She punches some thugs on a rooftop and finds out someone is selling the mob secrets under the name Oracle. Having very clearly marked her OC with "do not steal," she decides to get the old gang back together and knock on some doors. Problem is, Black Canary is in a band now, and going through some stuff, and is ten years younger than the last time I remember reading her, so she's less than thrilled with the idea. Still, the comic has to happen, so they hit the streets before running into a new unrelated Huntress, loosely organizing together this new hip Tumblr ready superhero team of misfits.
It's not unreadable, but I had to wince through some of the dumber stuff. Batgirl's reaction to Oracle being used as a criminal's handle as some sort of personal affront/message rather than the more likely scenario that plenty of people would want to call themselves something so cool and blandly generic, like how every 6th person on the Internet used some variation of Neo as a user name for at least 10 years after 1999. New Huntress monologues a dead guy like an asshole for two whole pages to deliver the audience some hammer-meets-head exposition (Catholic confession leading up to murder hasn't been cool since In Bruges folks.). There's a joke line about Batgirl self identifying as too young to learn how to drive shift which raised an eyebrow. And it's talky. The voice isn't terrible, there's some okay characterization in the recounting of Batgirl's history, but something tells me that the bricks of word bubbles and narration boxes aren't going away next issue. Level on top of that that the high concept antagonist isn't that clever or intriguing, and you leave me stepping away from the book mostly remembering what I didn't like about it, rather than it's few mild highlights.
One thing that was pretty decent was the linework. The art is expressive and has it's own style, rather than the vague merc blandness many of the Rebirth titles left me with. It's somewhat saddled by an unhelpful color job that doesn't play with a great deal of subtly. I wasn't in love with the art, but I pictured the book could have been a lot more striking if the colorist used different shades of skin tone depending on the location, lighting, and the like.
It's not awful however, and if you are a fan of the Burnside Batgirl comics, this will probably itch that scratch quite nicely. I was probably going to take points off anyway for putting the 'girl' in 'Batgirl', rather than the woman I'd read for decades, but hey, Gwenpool is an ongoing now. Sometimes you've just got to surrender to the fact that some characters will end up sacrificed to the upvote gods. It could be worse, however. I didn't suffer. I don't hate myself after reading this. So, hey, DC. You done good. For you.
[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Batgirl and the Bird's of Prey: Rebirth #1 Writer: Shawna Benson and Julia Benson Artist: Claire Roe Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital