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Batgirl Vol. 1: Batgirl Rising (Batgirl (DC Comics Quality Paper))

Batgirl, Vol. 1: Batgirl Rising - Bryan Q. Miller, Lee Garbett, Trevor Scott, Phil Noto, Cully Hamner Batgirl rising? Well, something's rising! Let's face it: all superhero comics are drawn intentionally to appeal to young teenaged boys' most purile (and unrealistic) ideas about the opposite sex. Accordingly, almost every woman in the superheros universe is drawn to be a slightly more athletic version of Jessica Rabbit. Even in this very skewed context, Batgirl is still all kinds of sexy beyond most other characters. Why? Because look at her costume: very minimalistic, so as not to distract from the female form, which is the real appeal of the costume. Sure, Wonder Woman shows more cleavage, and Supergirl has that skimpy skirt, but that's nothing compared to Batgirl's form-fitting black (sometimes dark blue) body suit. It's just barely this side of a BDSM fetish costume. Here's an extreme example... She's a fuckin' dominatrix!But even looking at the old tv costume, you can see what I mean:If you look at the progression from comics, to the old tv show, to the movies, you'll see that the trend is for the costume to lose more and more detail, focusing ever more attention on BG's body, which also becomes increasingly... let's say "unrealistic". If this was the only character in the Batman universe, it might be regarded as a fluke, but one look at Catwoman establishes the trend:So obviously somebody at DC Comics has a severe S&M/leather fetish. Here are some other lesser-known Batman characters who fit that trend:Zippermouth- Zippermouth was an average Joe who worked at Bruce Wayne's zipper factory in Gotham City. A freak accident left him looking like this, and the resulting psychological scars caused his personality to come undone. Now he terrorizes the good citizens of Gotham with his zipper-themed henchmen, looking for closure.The Latex Avenger- That isn't a suit; the Latex Avenger (LA) is a creature of pure latex, created when governmental Top Secret experiments on a "super latex" went awry. LA has the powers of latex... sort of like Plastic Man, but more titillating.Monkeypanic- Monkeypanic was originally conceived as a British exchange student living in Gotham, who fought crime with her magic "spear of justice", but DC Comics was nervous about portraying a minor so seductively. They eventually dropped the character from the comics and sold the rights to SONY Records, who was able to successfully repackage the character outside the DC universe for a while during the late 90's- early 2000's.Okay, so I didn't actually read this book... more like perused it in the book store yesterday. But I won't let that deter me from reviewing it! Don't worry; I'm not going to actually address the contents here anyhow. It'll be more like free-associating musings on the subject of Batgirl. Alfonso's Superman v. Batman poll last week got me thinking about this. In the comic world, it is a very important subject indeed. When I was in 1st and 2nd grade (I know it was these grades because I remember which house I was living in at the time), the old Batman show with Adam West was on tv after school. I used to watch it, but at that age, didn't get the campyness of it. I thought it was crimefighting high-drama. In the ridiculous cliffhangers, where Batman and Robbin would be trapped in some Rube-Goldberg-esque torture device, I was actually left with a sense of suspense over the possibility that they might actually get killed this time! In the first season or so, it was just Batman and Robbin, and that was cool... but then in later episodes, Batgirl made her appearance. Oh man! That was a major change in the series, for two particular reasons:1) up to her appearance, I really thought the Batmobile was the coolest thing I had ever seen... or at least high on the list (there was a minisubmarine on one episode of Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom", which I also obsessed about for several years). Suddenly, Batgirl appeared with her tricked-out Bat-motorcycle. Even though it had really weird looking tassles and ruffles on it (very impractical in the rain), it had way-cool wavy fairing, which made the Batmobile look kind of lame lame in comparison. I mean, motorcycles -even with tassles- are just so much cooler than cars, so a Bat-cycle? WAAAAAAY COOOOOOLer. 2) at that tender age, girls weren't really on my mind (excepting of course my childhood super-crush Emily). But one look at Batgirl, and... well, I could kind of tell that this girl was special. I kind of thought it would be cool if she could come and live with us at our house.Here are some other women I wanted to come live with us, at that age:The Hula dancer from the opening credits of the original Hawaii Five-O"Holly" from Land of the LostMorticia Addamsand of course, Princess Leia....but not the Princess Leia with the metal bikini. Star Wars came out when I was 9, just at the end of the stage of dreaming of having these woman come live with us, so it was the Episode IV Star Wars Leia I wanted- headphones hairdo and all.By the time Jedi came out, I was into Stevie Nicks, who had the added benefit of having a cool cockatoo.It wasn't until a few years later that I came to realize what an enigmatic and flawed character Batgirl is. There are certainly people out there with more comic book knowledge than I, so feel free to correct me here, but as far as I know, she is the only comic book hero who actually aspired to be a sidekick. Batman had been around for a while, and he didn't know Batgirl at all. She (apparently) admired his whole Bat-theme, and decided to adopt it for herself. One day, he's out fighting crime, and suddenly she shows up, decked out in a whole Bat get-up, with her Bat-cycle... it's kind of weird. She's sort of a stalker/superfan turned superhero. All the other sidekicks I know of (Robin, Aquaboy, Wondergirl...) have some sort of personal history with the main character... they're part of his/her actual life, and are kind of invited into the whole sidekick role. Batgirl is like a party crasher into the whole Bat-scene. That's just wrong. It would be a little better if she understood Batman better; he's supposed to be dark and brooding and disturbed. He's "the Dark Knight". Batgirl completely isn't any of those things. Here's a picture of her laughing for Chrissake!Have you ever seen Batman laugh??!? Get a fucking clue, Batgirl. She should have gone with a different theme. The other glaring problem with Batgirl is that she has some serious unreconciled accounting issues. Batman is really multimillionaire Bruce Wayne. That's how he pays for all his cool stuff...Batmobile, Batcave, etc. Batgirl's alter ego is Barbara Gordon... a librarian, and the police commissioner's daughter. I believe librarians should be well-paid, but I think Ms. Gordon is definitely living beyond the means of most librarians. The Batcycle alone is a very high-end motorcyce. That's probably $30k right there, and the only time she can ride it is when she's Batgirl. That's a luxury vehicle. On top of that, she lives in a brownstone in the (Gotham) city... that's $$$$, AND she's got it all remodeled to have a secret Batcave-type space in it. How's she paying for all that? They never say. So with all those flaws going for the old character, it looks from this book like they've decided to completely reboot the old Batgirl character with a totally new background story. Now she's some other superhero who changed her name or some damn thing. Whatever. As long as she keeps the suit.