Suspended Animation Suspended Animation
by Michael Vance & Jon Suter

    The latest Batman film has been in release for weeks, and has attracted considerable attention. The series is clearly moving away from the dark. brooding atmosphere of the first two films and closer to the famous (or infamous) television series of the 1960s.

    The new film, Batman and Robin, could easily be entitled "The Batman Family." The cast of characters is growing with each new installment.

    There is considerable disagreement over Alicia Silverstone's interpretation of Batgirl. Those of us who remember the original version will be the most vexed.

    The original Batgirl who first appeared in Batman no. 197 and Detective Comics no. 359 was Barbara Gordon, daughter of Police Commissioner Gordon.

    She held a Ph.D. in Library Science and was chief administrator of the Gotham Public Library.

    Many of her early cases featured crimes involving the library.

    After a twenty-years, she is now a wheel-chair bound victim of the Joker and is better known as Oracle, a computer whiz who aids several heroes.

    Silverstone's Batgirl, however, is the English niece of Alfred Pennyworth, the butler who raised Bruce Wayne after his parents' murder.

    She is no librarian, but is a thrill-seeking motorcyclist and electronics expert.

    Complicating the issue is a new Batgirl comic book from DC, one of four special issues capitalizing on the new movie. (The others deal with Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy.)

    This Batgirl is again Barbara Gordon. The story happens shortly after Batgirl's early battle against the villain Killer Moth.

    Kelley Puckett's script makes some good additions to Batgirl's history, particularly her shock at the violence of her new "career." Her first collision with the Joker will chill readers who know her later history.

    If, as rumored, the Joker appears in the fifth Batman film, the various versions could converge.

    Her career as a librarian has vanished and she appears younger. This Barbara is more of a tom-boy who likes to be in or on the fringes of her father's cases.

    Give this an A for script and art. DJS.


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1997 Starland