Batgirl is headed back to Gotham City with a new creative team, and she's getting a brand new costume for the journey.
Well, not an entirely new costume, as you can see in this cover for Batgirl #26. Sean Gordon Murphy was tasked with redesigning the costume, which takes some big inspiration from her Year One outfit The grey, yellow, and blue color scheme is back, but with a few modern tweaks, like her stylish symbol that hooks to a backpack, a shorter cape, and more angled gloves, boots, and utility belt. She also doesn't feature a full cowl, with the bat ears surfacing through her hair (via Polygon).
The series welcomes writer Mairghread Scott and artists Paul Pelletier and Elena Casagrande, and the new look kind of fits Babs' return to Gotham City.
“This is supposed to be a version of the costume that she was working on when she still lived with her dad,” Scott said. “That’s why it looks so much like her original Batgirl: Year One outfit — like, she’s with her dad. She can’t get out back to Burnside, and this is like the emergency. So the version that she was working on [back in the day] that she had stashed here just in case. It helps us with the story a little bit
Batgirl will be facing a returning villain named Grotesque, who was “originally, this sort of adrenaline junkie who liked to steal the finer things in life, but he got sent away to Blackgate. Now he’s back and we learn that his time in prison has really changed him," Scott said.
Not changed him from an innocence perspective mind you, but more in regards to his tactics, as the villain is now creating brutal pieces of art using human beings. “Things like Perseus with the Head of Medusa, but maybe it’s got a real person’s head. Or a still life, but made up of human hands,” Scott said. “He’s still stealing things, of course, but it’s different now — he’s escalating. And Batgirl has to stop him.”
While Grotesque will present a challenge all his own, Babs will also have an internal struggle in the new arc.
“The implant that allows her to walk is shorting out,” Scott said. “But when that happens, [Babs’] is just like, ‘Oh, okay, my legs aren’t working, I can deal with that. It’s fine.’ Because she was Oracle for a long time, you know? She knows how to operate without the chip.”
The use of her legs isn't all that's at risk here though.
“We decided that this implant is in her spine, it’s got to
“Because that’s scary, you know? My mom was a professional grammarian for years and suddenly it was a struggle. She had to think about things like ‘what if the language centers of my brain stop working? How will I feed myself, how will I feed my family?’ So that’s what Babs is going through, she’s worried that her eidetic memory might not be perfect and her investigative skills might be failing," Scott said.
While these will be issues she is going to deal with in this run, don't expect her to stay in an Oracle role or lose what came from Burnside. “That’s kind of a spoiler, I guess, but I want to get ahead of that. We don’t want to tease people with that," Scott said.
“We’re absolutely not looking to go grimdark,” Scott said, “I love hopeful Babs, but I think, to me, leaving that hope untested is worth less than putting that hope through the fire. Batgirl learned some amazing lessons in Burnside, and now we want to continue that arc in a natural progression like a real person would.”
That same mission statement applies to the art from Pelletier and Casagrande, who “are really focused on keeping Babs true to character. It was important to us that the art communicates her as a hero rather than a pin-up or a victim.”
The new team kicks off in Batgirl #26 and Batgirl Annual #2 this August, while her new costume debuts in Batgirl #27 on September 26.