DC Bookworm… Batgirl Volume 3: Mindfields & Flash Volume 8: Zoom.

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Batgirl Volume 3: Mindfields – Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr

The Flash Volume 8: Zoom – Robert Vendetti, Van Jensen, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund

Two new books from DC and, to be honest, neither are titles I’ve followed with the same level of dedication that I have for others in the DC line. Approaching both with an open mind then, I delved in to Batgirl Volume 3: Mindfields and was immediately struck with the feeling that I, a 40 something bloke, am maybe not the intended demographic for the adventures of Barbara Gordon these days. “Mindgames” finds Babs and her team of socially inclusive buddies dealing with the sort of things teen girls seem to deal with in this day and age: all selfies and mobile phones and the like. In this device mad era that we inhabit, the threat of being “hacked” – whether it’s your phone, your lap top, your bank account or U2 downloading an album to your itunes without you knowing – is a daily constant. What if though, it was your own mind that was hacked? What if some nefarious nasty ne-er-do-well could wipe out your memories and implant new ones, with you oblivious to the shady scheme? You’d be forgetting that appointment you had tomorrow and wondering who the long lost, old friend is that has just turned up on your door step wouldn’t you? Not good eh? Especially if you are the Tech savvy genius Barbara Gordon by day and the crime fighting Batgirl by night …

This run on Batgirl is a million miles away from the dark and rugged Gotham that fans of the Bat will be accustomed to. The art work is very bright and breezy as the characters come and go and LOL along with each other. The bad guys, though definitely bad, are often just as frolicsome – Corporal Punishment! I ask you! – and don’t delve too deep in to the darkness that big hitters like The Joker or Black Mask would. You know what? That’s fitting though. Not a problem at all. Batgirl is wass hard and you wouldn’t mess with her, but at heart she is still a youngster living in a cool youngster world and this book reflects and balances the two very well. Rather than sit alongside Green Lantern and Swamp Thing on my over crowded book shelves I reckon I’ll pass it on to my teenage daughter though …


Another book my daughter may well acquire is The Flash Volume 8: Zoom though for different reasons. Again, I’m a little out of the loop in terms of reading The Flash, but we have both made a point of sitting down together to watch The Flash TV series lately, which fortunately has stuck to the main themes of the books. This makes jumping in at Volume 8 – the OCD side of my collector mind would usually run a mile at the prospect and I would trawl the internet and book shops for the previous seven volumes before even considering opening this one – not such a daunting experience. We join The Flash doing battle in the streets against the usual slew of dastardly deed doers but something isn’t quite right. Barry is being haunted by a certain yellow speedster and on top of that his Dad, currently (wrongly) incarcerated for the murder of his wife and Baz’s mother, puts together a motley crew and busts out of jail. Not the best day you’ll ever have but all in a day’s work etc etc for a superhero like The Flash.

I really, really enjoyed this tale. The hyper active artwork never gives you a minutes rest and the kinetic style fits a line like The Flash perfectly. The combination of battling Zoom and the frustration of his Dad actually being a bad guy – despite Barry refusing to accept it – give the story a busy and manic energy. Barry has found out who the killer of Mrs Allen was and can get his Pops outta jail … if only he was still in his cell. As a casual Flash fan, but fully up to date with the basics premise through the TV series, my fears were totally unfounded and Volume 8 whizzed by in a rush of adrenaline and amusement. Blimey, now I’m no doubt gonna go out looking for books one to seven … Marv Gadgie



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