Gail Simone’s Batgirl may not be for me

The first image to be shown from the upcoming Batgirl series has me thinking I don’t want a Gail Simone written Batgirl at all, regardless of who’s behind the mask.

[Content warning for imagery of disturbing violence]

This image was revealed at the Calgary Expo on June 18 and comes from Daily Blam.

A villain brutally forcing a water hose down a man’s throat is exactly the kind of sadistic violence I hate in comics. In Batgirl? Forget it.

I’m not excited by the new costume either, but nothing was going to please me after losing Cass and Stephanie, whose costume was my favourite thing to come along in years.

Gail Simone’s comments at the Calgary Expo panel:

“There’s no character closer to my heart than Barbara Gordon. Her new villains are just….ooooh,” said Simone excitingly. The writer went on to reveal a new villain called ‘Mirror’ and some panels of the character, who appears like a mysterious flasher shoving what appears to be a garden hose down an old man’s throat. “He’s really creepy and really cool,” she said. Simone went on to tease the new Batgirl costume saying, “There’s some things wired into her costume that is something that hasn’t been done before, which is the reason why it looks the way it does,” she said. (Daily Blam)

I loved Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman and her Welcome to Tranquility series, and compulsively read Secret Six as a twisted, hilarious, cringe-inducing over-the-top guilty pleasure, but her darker sensibility is just not appropriate for every book. I have a pretty good feel for Simone’s style now; I know she loves pushing the envelope, writing villains who are brutal and horrific, and always pushing the reader to the edge of their comfort level. That’s fine in limited doses, but it gets tiresome when it’s every book.

I had been struggling over buying this book, because in spite of all the problematic context, it’s a female-lead book and supporting those is important to me. Not buying this book will not bring back Bryan Q. Miller/Dustin Nguyen’s Stephanie Brown series. But if Simone’s going to bring her Secret Six sensibility to Batgirl, I’m out.

Between the new Birds of Prey, Judd Winnick’s “sexy and violent” Catwoman (and Guillem March’s masturbatory art), the travesty that is Harley Quinn, and the cancellation of all my female-lead books except Supergirl, it’s getting damn hard to find ANY female characters to read in this new DCU.

Michelle loves comics and code. The Superfamily are her favourite comic book characters, but she’s a fan of DC, Marvel, Image and many different manga. Her fansites can be found at michellebacon.com