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Batgirl #1 Review!

Jondee here at Okinawa, Japan,

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Batgirl has gone through many incarnations through the years, maimed in The Killing Joke, turned into the cyber intelligence of the Oracle, forming the Birds of Prey, and then back in action in the New52 with Gail Simone revealing that she had experimental surgery and year of recovery, then given a new, practical uniform by Babs Tarr (kept in this version). This is all recapped in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth #1 which takes place after her journey in the current Batgirl title. Now Hope Larson is the writer for the comic in the Rebirth relaunches, a writer/artist who is known for webcomics and graphic novels such as A Wrinkle in Time. She is joined in art duties by Rafael Albuquerque (his artwork looks more and more to me like European graphic novel art). I was hesitant to pick up the title after so many changes, but flipping through the book, it looked like a fresh take. The cover by Albuquerque has Batgirl in fighting pose with Barbara Gordon in backpack and the other female characters below the image of the hero. It begins with a fight scene in Okinawa, Japan where a man is struck down by girl in Kabuki make-up in school girl outfit looking for a formula. She is interrupted by Batgirl who is ready to fight, love her line, “I’m Batgirl”, classic Batman line. This picks up a day before with Barbara Gordon leaving behind the city of Burnside to go traveling. She checks out the sights of Japan, talking to Frankie Charles (her friend from Burnside) on audio, and checks into the hostel, Drum House, where she has to share a room with a sleeping man.

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She suddenly realizes he’s her friend Kai. An Asian love interest? She is looking up a Batgirl from 1939 calling herself Fruit Bat (Furutsubatto) who is now 104. A brief flashback to Gordon, her father, getting angry at them as kids in Chicago, retcon? Kai is looking to go to China and see his family roots while also planning to be a photographer. Barbara’s stomach grumbles with hunger and they go out to the market to get some octopus. Kai is a little squeamish eating it and they go for beers afterwards. Barbara talks in Japanese, in red with some Japanese letters, but I really needed the editing note about the translation. They return to their hostel where Kai tosses his cookies (and octopus) holding up the bathroom. Later, they go to the 10,000 Eisa Dance Parade (this seems like real setting work), where they meet Chiyo Yamashiro now in a wheelchair. Her son leaves her and this is when Barbara hears Kai’s scream from the beginning. It picks up with the Kabuki girl fighting Batgirl who tries to escape leaping off the drums. Batgirl replays the girl’s moves and the girl’s leg is caught by Fruit Bat! The girl throws a knife, which is blocked by Fruit Bat, deflects off a drum, and slices the girl’s tie! Awesome!, this comic is fun, a thrill ride, with great scenes and comedy! Fruit Bat’s heart causes her to collapse and she tells Batgirl to find “Teacher.” Batgirl’s eiditc memory goes over the Fruit Bat’s moves, but can’t understand them. She sees a MMA billboard that takes place in Singapore. Barbara returns to the room and Kai suspects she’s Batgirl, Barbara mentions traveling to Singapore, training by Teacher? reminds me of I Ching training the de-powered Wonder Woman. This is the best Batgirl comic book, really getting the thinking and awe of a superhero, strong women, fighting, ninjas, and tops any Batman comic. Five Batarangs out of Five!