I am still on the fence about what to do with comics after the Incredible Hulk wraps up its current run Wednesday. Despite my strong feelings about Oracle, her Birds of Prey, and the advantages of a multi-generational DC, (as well as the Steph Brown Batgirl) I’ve been considering at least giving the first issue of the new Batgirl series a try, due to my love of the character and my faith in writer Gail Simone. Part of me hasn’t wanted to— after reading the debates on the matter I can’t shake the feeling that, despite the quality or merits of the book, supporting it is the wrong thing to do. Even if failing to support the book means Barbara gets swept off to the side with Cass and Steph— as was apparently intended back in 1988.
This preview, posted originally in the New York Post, did not help DC’s case. Aside from not loving the art, I just feel that the attempt to shoehorn this story into the new truncated timeline devised by DC’s editorial is doing both the writing and the character a disservice. I think Gail Simone is doing her darndest to make Bab’s return feel genuine and earned, but the de-aging issue takes a lot of the legitimacy out of it. All the parts do not add up to a cohesive whole.
I may be judging the story unfairly based on these five pages that are out of context, and that realization keeps a glimmer of hope alive, but I’ve been looking for reasons not to buy the book even more than reasons to buy it, and this preview has made a stronger case for simply making a clean break from monthly superhero comics after this week. :(
From the NY Post this morning. Give the story a read, it’s a fair take on the issues. Those who have still questioned whether the Killing Joke happened, see below. It did, and apparently three years before the book begins. I assume that she was a teenager then? Ack, my head.
The writing is snappy, as you’d expect from Simone. She even gets a Batwoman joke in.
Scroll down to the bottom of this post. This page sums up what I loved about the DCU. The characters evolved. There was history. The teen sidekicks grew up, some to develop their own identities (Arsenal, Troia, Oracle,) and a few to assume the mantle after their mentors had gone (Wally West, Dick Grayson). In turn, they trained a new generation of heroes—Mia Dearden. Cassie Sandsmark. Cass Cain and Steph Brown. Bart Allen. Damien Wayne. Looking at the intelligence and wisdom in the eyes of Barbara Gordon as she forges a relationship with a new Batgirl and takes another step in her own development is beyond cool. And it’s something I’m going to miss as the DCnU kicks in next month and the ”classic” generation (Clark, Bruce, Diana, Arthur, Hal, Barry), with the exception of all the (male) Robins, a de-aged Barbara Gordon, and some unrecognizeable Teen Titans, becomes the only generation.
The world has a past and a future. We don’t throw our hands in the air because the centuries of human history make life “inaccessible.” When we meet people we like, who are interesting to us, we naturally want to learn more about them and the history they have. An understanding of their past makes us appreciate them more and helps us enjoy the changes that come as time moves forward. That’s one thing that have made superhero comics unique among other media. It’s a shame that’s now seen as a liability.
This past week we saw, after twenty two years, what is probably the last appearance of Oracle for the foreseeable future. As a send-off for this great character, I’ve been doing a series of tribute posts that include thoughts and memories by some of the creators who have written Oracle through the years.
Yesterday I included memories by Scott Peterson, who wrote her first standalone story, Devin Grayson, who wrote the character, Joan Hilty, who edited Birds of Prey, and Greg Rucka, who has written the character in a book and in comics. Today I bring you two of her most recent writers; Tony Bedard who wrote her Birds of Prey (at left is from a page I own of his Birds of Prey #119 with art by Nicola Scott) and Bryan Q. Miller, who wrote her in the most recent volume of Batgirl. Their thoughts follow.