From new Batgirl creative team, Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr!
Preface: I like this design. I like it a lot.
Core Message: What the heck is it doing on Barbara Gordon?
No, I’m serious here. This is a fun outfit that was pieced together by a young woman without access to Bruce Wayne’s pocketbook. I’ve grasped this, and I applaud that decision. I’d like to point out that those padded motorcycle jackets do have a certain amount of weight that is not shown by this artist, but I really like the boots and a detachable cape makes a certain amount of sense.
It’s just … well, this looks like an outfit that Stephanie Brown or Carrie Kelley would have put together early in their costumed careers. Even Harper Rowe is wearing more visibly protective gear than this, and that young lady has even less funding/training than Babs (not to mention the new take on Steph’s Spoiler in Batman Eternal).
No, I’ve got it—this outfit feels like Misfit. This would be an awesome outfit to introduce Charlie Radcliffe-Gage as the determined mentoree that Barbara never asked for.
I suppose—in consideration of the five-year timeline of the reboot—Barbara probably started out in her late teens. If the Batgirl book was going to go back in time to fill in that era, this could very well have been Babs’ first Batgirl costume—the one she made herself before nearly dying. I’d probably read that.
(Future Oracle Post - My childhood memories of Batgirl!Babs were always coloured by my love of Dick Grayson and deep respect of Batman. I didn’t warm up to Barbara until long after she became Oracle—a new take on those years would be fantastic.)
But as for who Babs is now?
I just think that this outfit looks young in a way that I don’t feel Barbara Gordon is—no matter how DC deages her (they’ve been inching backwards for decades). This character survived an adolescence with a brother that she (rightfully) suspected of being a serial killer. She’s the daughter/stepdaughter of high-profile law-enforcement. Even if this kind of upbringing did not naturally result in a wise-beyond-her-years maturity, she survived the Joker’s personal attention and recovered from severe injury (honest, my thoughts and clear preference for Oracle will be another post entirely … someday). She’s lost Dick Grayson and watched children die.
Given the trauma of the last year or so in comic book time, Barbara Gordon’s response could very well be to take a break from vigilante work … (I personally think that it would drive her to the isolation and distance of Oracle—the all-seeing commander of armies, but I’m biased) … however, the bright, fun, flirty, social take that the new creative team is selling?
I’m not buying it. Figuratively. Literally. Both. Nope.
That’s not Barbara Gordon.
Barbara can be bright. She can be fun and she can have fun. I think that she even likes to flirt outrageously although she’s selective on who she makes the effort to charm. But I don’t see her being a social butterfly, fashion-friendly, or a casual detective or anything but an extremely distracted classmate that everyone respects, most like, but no one really knows … because Babs has a drive and a mission and our girl doesn’t have time for this.