Batgirl gets reboot, Doc Martens in DC Comics series

Finding your Batgirl story a little dark, a little gloomy, a little horribly tragic? Put a bird on it! That's right, we're getting a modern-girl revamp with selfies and fixies.

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CNET senior copy editor and contributor Kelsey Adams was raised by computer programmers and writers, so she communicates best by keyboard. Loves genre fiction, RPGs, action movies; has long, fraught relationship with comics. Come talk to her on Twitter.
Kelsey Adams
3 min read

DC Comics

Iconic Batgirl writer Gail Simone is out, and a cheerful, flirty, "sassy" young Batgirl is in.

She's putting aside the darkness of her past and moving to a hipster neighborhood full of "expensive coffee, fixie bikes, vintage shops and breakout bands," according to co-writer Brenden Fletcher in MTV's exclusive on the new direction for the DC Comics series, starting with Batgirl No. 35. I guess she was fighting crime before it was cool?

I know big swerves like this are totally normal in the ever-mutating world of comics continuity -- and she's not the only hero taking selfies -- but I have to say, this quote from Cameron Stewart (co-writer, cover artist, and layout) reads like parody:

Batgirl has really been put through the wringer in recent years - after being attacked and paralyzed by the Joker, her brother turning out to be a serial murderer, the trauma of her family breaking apart and the series of gruesome villains she's had to contend with, we figured she deserved a break from all that. Just prior to the start of our story she's pushed to the breaking point and decides that she's had it with misery and darkness and wants a change. She wants the opportunity to have some fun and live the life of a young, single girl in the city, so she packs up and moves to Burnside, the cool, trendy borough of Gotham, to focus on grad school.

Sure, why would anyone be emo about a past like that? Sounds like this Bird of Prey will be tweeting, not brooding. I do think it's great to have more stories about powerful women enjoying themselves, but isn't it a bit bizarre to retain that traumatic backstory if she's all about youth and fun?

Technically this isn't a full reboot, but that's what makes it so weird. Of course, they may plan to handle that dissonance with dark humor, given that Fletcher cites "Veronica Mars," "Girls," and "Sherlock" as influences.

(Also, in my personal experience, "focusing on grad school" wouldn't leave her any time for crime-fighting or being single in the city, but whatever. Maybe it's an easy program.)

Anyway, let's get to the important thing: the new costume.

MTV/DC Comics

She's got Doc Martens (probably less practical to run in than her previous outfit, but they look tough and are super-cute) and a military-style leather jacket with a cape that snaps onto the shoulders. Also very cute, while being less revealing than a lot of superhero costumes. So that's cool.

Below the waist, well...it looks like Batgirl's first vigilante act will be breaking the law that Tights Are Not Pants.

I'd say they succeeded in making her look hip, active, and engaging. I'm not sure how I feel about a Batgirl best described as "adorbs," but there it is. New artist Babs Tarr seems to live in this territory herself, so at least it should feel organic.

What do you think: Silly, awesome, or both? Will Batgirl be Snapchatting her quips and Kickstarting her bike? Will her nemesis have a handlebar moustache and one pant leg rolled up? And is losing Gail Simone from this title the worst or best part of it all?