A little background, Batgirl: Year One is a comic book mini-series published by DC Comics in nine parts, from February to October 2003, and then compiled into trade paperback form (which is what I just read). Written by Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon, with art by Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez, the mini-series shows how modern Barbara Gordon became the first Batgirl.
The journey to Batgirl as we know her, starts with a recently graduated Barbara Gordon, wanting to follow in the footsteps of her father (Chief of Police James Gordon). Her father completely dismisses the idea and she is denied from the police academy. As a computer science and data retrieval major Barbara Gordon is 100% qualified to become a cop or work for the FBI (which she is also denied) but because she is perceived as a “little girl” by her father and most of the men in her life everyone underestimates her abilities.
On the one hand, I can’t relate, because my father raised his 2 girls to take care of themselves and not to take crap from any man but on the other hand I understand how so women are underestimated due to their size, strength and of course because they are “ladies”.
Ok tangent over, not willing to back down from her dream of fighting crime and wither away in a research department, Barbara decides to take things into her own hands. At a masquerade ball she dresses up like Batman hoping to annoy her father but when the villain Killer Moth (lamest villain ever or only one of the lamest?) crashes the party and attempts to kidnap Bruce Wayne she jumps into action and saves the day, pushing her into the spotlight.
In that costume everyone assumes that she is another one of Batman’s sidekicks but he didn’t ask for a “Batgirl” and definitely doesn’t want one. Barbara takes on the new role and of course thinks she can do everything on her own but Batman and his Boy Wonder, Robin keep close tabs on her and after a gassing incident she is taken to their secret lair. After that Robin takes her under his wing and shows her the “Batman” ropes.
I think one of the best things about this story is the back and forth banter between Batgirl and Robin and there was a definite squeal moment, when they (SPOILER ALERT!), kiss!!
I don’t want to ruin the rest of the story but eventually Barbara Gordon finds her place in this world and comes into her own as Batgirl as she fights the Killer Moth and his eventual partner Firefly.
Overall, I enjoyed the comic, I know shocking! The story is a little confusing to follow at times with its constant past tense/future tense switches and I think the villains are kinda lame but in the end it was entertaining.
Without a doubt though, the best part of this story resides in the main character, Barbara Gordon, she’s smart, sassy and kicks some major ass. But I also like that she’s not immediately AMAZING at being a “superhero”, she makes mistakes and stumbles quite a few times along the way.
Non nerds, if you aren’t really into comic books but your significant other wants you to check one out, I would definitely recommend Batgirl Year One. It is a story about a powerful woman, so can’t go wrong with that right?
I hope you’re happy now Cyclops, I finally read a comic book!