Review

Review: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52 #1) by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr

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4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve always been a big fan of superhero stories, but it was only in the past year or two that I started reading Marvel comic books properly, and now I feel quite well-versed in the various arcs and characters. But, until now, I hadn’t read a single DC comic. I saw this on Netgalley and thought the start of a brand new series would be a good place to start, plus Batgirl was a character I was also vaguely familiar with.

The Batgirl of Burnside follows Batgirl as she struggles with balancing life as a graduate student and her secret identity. Hackers are targeting a popular dating/friend app, which pretty much everyone in the city uses, and to add to this someone is impersonating Batgirl and trying to ruin her reputation.

Barbara Gordon as Batgirl first appeared in 1967, so it is understandable that some of her comics would appear to feel dated. This new series very much brings Batgirl into the present day – smartphones, social media, online dating – but this could also serve to isolate some of Batgirl’s older fans, those who have been following her for a long time. For me, as a new reader and someone used to such technology, it wasn’t an issue, but I could see how it could be for some fans. What I did like was that the technology wasn’t just throw in to appeal to a certain demographic – it was an integral part of the story.

My main issues with this volume were the odd mix of made up and real pop culture, the cliche of a cop/authority figure boyfriend who disapproves of our protagonists secret identity without realising who it really is, and one particular villain who talks in hashtags… That last one seemed a bit too much.

But the art was gorgeous, the colour palettes a wonderful blend, the story fun and fast-paced, and every character looked unique. The action scenes flowed seamlessly from one frame to the next. Taking a brief glance at reviews of this book on Goodreads shows that the previous DC readers don’t seem to be quite so impressed with this addition to the series, but for me, as a new reader of DC comics, this was a great introduction to its universe. One or two characters were familiar from the television series Arrow, but almost everything was new to me, and at no point did I feel at a disadvantage.

A fun, fresh update on the Batgirl story, definitely a great entry point for those wanting to get into DC Comics but unsure where to start.

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: May 2015

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

May 2015

Last month I read a total of seven books: Tracer (Tracer #1) by Rob Boffard, City of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic #1) by Magnus Flyte, The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner, Tarzan of the Apes (Tarzan #1) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion, Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart and Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon, .

With a short break between thesis draft hand-in and feedback, I was able to get some time to relax and read for fun! I should have the same again halfway through this month, as my thesis is due on 15th June! The stand-out book of May was definitely Outlander – a book which stole my heart and mind, it’s an absolutely gorgeous tale of unexpected romance and sexy Scotsman… I would like my own Jamie Fraser, please and thank you. Tarzan of the Apes was also highly entertaining, more so than expected, and Batgirl of Burnside was my first ever DC comic!

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read five books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge and managed to defeat Gorilla Grodd. Next month’s villain is Bullseye, and I’m still hunting for some books that fit him…
  • I have currently read thirty-one books towards my Goodreads goal.

 

Currently reading:

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

How was May for you?

Past Features

Turning Off The TV #13: Heroes

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The TV series this week is: Heroes

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After a total eclipse casts its shadow across the globe, seemingly calling forth a multitude of everyday men and women with special powers, Dr. Mohinder Suresh, a genetics professor from India, continues to champion his father’s theory that there are people with extraordinary abilities living among us. Heroes follows those people and their fight to save the world…

Heroes is another one of those shows that I started watching when it was first aired, then missed a couple and never caught up – despite the fact that my family owns all the DVDs and I could watch it on Netflix at any time. I’ve always been quite squeamish and that scene where Claire has to basically put her chest back together was a bit too much for me – although I think shows like Game of Thrones have desensitised me lately! Maybe I should give it another try, and just add it to my ever growing list of shows to watch and/or finish…

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

I’d always heard a lot about Brandon Sanderson, but I didn’t read any of his work until the end of last year. I’ve only read two of his books so far (Elantris and The Final Empire) but I loved them both. Whilst he tends to write fantasy, Steelheart is something quite different – a story of normal people, granted superpowers – and a desire to take over the Earth. The ‘Epics’, as they are known, are almost unstoppable, and only one force dares to stand against them – the ‘Reckoners’, normal people without super powers, who study the Epics in order to assassinate them. Ugh, I just want this book NOW. But it’s only out in large paperback at the moment – I’m waiting for a Kindle sale, or the smaller paperback.

Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Vicious is one of those books that I’d heard absolutely nothing about – until suddenly ALL of my blogger friends starting reading and talking about it. It’s about two young boys, college roommates, who discover that under the right conditions, gaining superpowers is possible. But things go wrong when it comes to the experimental stage, and ten years later the two boys are no longer friends – but enemies. Goodreads claims that Victoria Schwab ‘brings to life a gritty comic book style world in vivid prose’, which sounds totally my kind of thing. Also, I don’t know if it’s just me – but when I look at the thumbnail of this cover, all I can see is Gru from Despicable Me looking down from that balcony!

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Unlike the previous two books, Soon I Will Be Invincible is not one that I’ve seen all over the blogosphere. I found it whilst browsing Goodreads, and thought it looked pretty perfect for this feature. It sounds like a bit of a typical superhero story (an evil villain called ‘Doctor Impossible’ determined to take over the world, a ‘new’ superhero who will go on to prove themselves), but it also sounds pretty fun.

The H.I.V.E series by Mark Walden

The H.I.V.E series by Mark Walden

Because we can’t forget the super villains! I’ve seen the H.I.V.E series around a lot – it’s mostly aimed at middle grade audiences. The series follows a young boy called Otto who is picked from his orphanage to become part of the Higher Institute of Villainous Education, where young children are trained to become super villains. However, Otto soon realises that it is a six year program and he doesn’t want to stay. With the help of his genius friends, he begins formulating a plan to break out. There are currently eight books, with a ninth on the way.

As well as these novels, there are so many different graphic novels and comic books relating to superheroes to check out. I’m currently working my way through various Marvel (mostly X-Men, Fantastic Four and Avengers) storylines, but other great publishers include DC and Dark Horse.

Are you a fan of Heroes? Do you have any recommendations to add?