Barbara Gordon is in a ‘Single White Female’ situation, and the false Batgirl is ruining her rep.  But who is under the cowl of the faux Bat?  Your Major Spoilers review of Batgirl #37 awaits!

Batgirl37CoverBATGIRL #37
Writer: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr
Colorist: Maris Wicks
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Chris Conroy
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Batgirl:  Barbara Gordon has relocated to Burnside, and (thanks to a miscalculation) has lost all of her personal things and crime-fighting gear.  Setting up a new life, she has even had to redesign her uniform for the brave new world, as well as deal with her angry ex-partner Black Canary, whose personal effects were likewise destroyed in a fire that Batgirl herself is responsible.  Now, she has to deal with an imposter in her scalloped cape, albeit one without her sense of justice…


This issue opens with a distressing feeling that I’ve somehow missed an issue, as a group of celebrity-thieves (as in, thieves who prey on celebrities, not thieves who ARE celebrities) race away, thrilled that they used social media to challenge Batgirl, and instead found her joining their larcenous adventures.  The REAL Batgirl arrives, confronts her doppelgänger, and after a brief struggle, the faux-Bat and her bejweled cape escape into the night.  Capturing the thieves, Barbara Gordon returns home, where we find that her friend Qadir is suddenly making weapons for Batgirl, deepening the feeling that I missed an issue.  Not only that, her new weapon is a super-smart-phone with a “superflash” for blinding her opponents.  Back in the 1960s, Batgirl had a special purse with make-up themed weaponry in it, including a super-powderpuff, and THAT didn’t feel as goofy or instantly dated as this reveal.  To find her imposter, Batgirl infiltrates an art show all about her, done by a mysterious and reclusive artist called Dagger Type, where we find not only provocative photos of fake Batgirl, but a notable picture showing Batgirl in a wheelchair, which Barbara takes as a message specifically for her.  Thanks to her super-mind, she figures out that the show is a challenge for her, and goes to meet “herself” under the bridge that night.


First off, the visual cues that led to her revelation (apparently photos that mean “Below Burnside Bridge 10 p.m.) are maddeningly obscure, and even when they’re shown on panel, they didn’t really make a lot of sense to me, but when Batgirl gets attacked by the other Batgirl, and a fight ensues, during which she unmasks her foe to discover…

…Dagger Type himself, a moment that shocks her enough to cry out “But you’re a–” before she is knocked off the side of the bridge.  It’s a moment that has caused some consternation among readers of the book, giving the implication that Batgirl is trans-phobic, and I can certainly understand how.  To be honest, the reveal felt very hackneyed to me, especially given the not-so-subtle hints that Dagger Type (a name that I really hate) was behind fake Batgirl all along.  D-Type escapes again, and his piece de resistance comes in a public show where he reveals that *HE* is behind the Batgirl that the young, hip elite have come to love, only to get laughed off the stage.  It’s another really difficult to follow moment, both in terms of linear storytelling, and if you’re in any way sensitive to trans-panic media tropes.  The story ends with a victorious Batgirl using “Pixtagram” to put out a picture of the REAL her, taking back her identity and her role as the real Batgirl.


The first issue of this creative team on Batgirl featured a character who spoke in #hashtags, and the focus on social media and the youth culture of today already feels dated.  This book feels like it’s trying too hard to show us a young, edgy and topical Batgirl, but what comes out is the equivalent of Bob Haney’s ‘outtasite, groovy’ 60s Teen Titans lingo.  The art is very impressive, though, especially the moment where fake Batgirl makes her gold-spangled entrance, proving Babs Tarr to be a talented artist whose skills are well beyond the scripts being delivered.  Batgirl #37 is a quandary, a muddled mess of story with really problematic elements married to art that I like a great deal, leaving us with a disappointing 2 out of 5 stars overall.  The writers of the issue have taken to social media to apologize to those who were offended by the issue, which I respect and appreciate, and I still have hope that they can put the elements together into a coherent new era for Barbara Gordon…


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I don’t understand all the anger surrounding the issue. It seems a perfectly normal reaction in a split second moment in which she quickly after gets shot at. I haven’t been enjoying the Batgirl relaunch because I a free they seem to be really trying to appear young and hip. But maybe that’s what’s bringing in new readers. If there was a CW Batgirl show, this is what it would be.

  2. Is there a way in which current social media trends can be used effectively, or will their use immediately date it to a 2010s’ comic like so many bellbottoms and 80s hair did to the 70s and 80s?

    • Im pretty sure in retrospect it will seem later dated but kinda cute, like all those things in previous decades. I also think that these “selfies” and stuff are ridiculous even now when they are relevant.

    • Well, look at the books that were most “of their time.”

      Watchmen takes place in an alternate continuity version of 1985, and thus is an intentional period piece.
      The Dark Knight Returns is a future-noir-cyber-something dark nightmare.

      Neither are really 1986.

      Civil War is tied to the paranoia of post-Patriot Act America, and is starting to feel dated.
      The New Warriors are so very 90s, with their young people coming of age in a post-boomer world.
      Justice League Detroit is very “Flashdance/Breakin’/1984”.
      Even Spider-Man’s adventures in the 1970s, with campus unrest, the rise of the ERA, and disco madness feel dated.

      Nostalgia in comics CAN work, and work well. But it’s not always easy and it can feel pretty awkward…

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