Recent Reads: What I Read in November 2021

In November, I didn’t really read a lot of books. In all honesty, I ended up re-reading a lot of old Batgirl comics from the Cassandra Cain era. I have also re-read a few graphic novels from the Rebirth era. The one novel, Wahala I did finish in November, I read in a couple of days as it was a real page-turner. This is a quick round-up and review of those books.

Wahala

Nikki May

Ronke, Simi, Boo became friends at university. Three mixed-race women with the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English. Years later, they are all living very different lives in London. Ronke, the dentist looking for a husband (he must be Nigerian, like her father). Boo is a stay-at-home mum frustrated with motherhood and longing to reconnect with her past self. Simi has a successful fashion career. But is suffering from impostor syndrome, especially when her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.

When Simi’s childhood friend Isobel moves to London, she wants to improve the lives of the three friends. By arranging an interview for a new job for Simi or taking Boo jogging. Soon the lives of the trio of friends ascend into chaos.

Rating: ☕☕☕☕/5

I knew I was going to love this book in the first chapter. By the descriptions of the friendship, the food and London life! Wahala is a refreshing look at the life of mixed-heritage women living in London. The book deals with a range of race issues, from micro-aggressions in the workplace. To colourism within the black community and class divides (in both Nigeria and the UK).

It was easy for me to pick my favourite character in this book. Ronke, it is an absolute joy. She is the sort of friend you want (and someone who would share my love of food). But all three of the friends have their good points (as well as bad points). At different stages, you rooted for these women looking for them to succeed.

The storyline is full of twists and turns and even though I guessed one of the plot twists. Others came out of the left field and caught me off guard. Personally, I haven’t read Big Little Lies, but I did watch the TV adaptions. I have seen many comparisons to the two books, and I can see why. I would recommend this book to fans of Big Little Lies.

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Batgirl & the Birds of Prey: Volume 1 Who is Oracle?

Shawna Benson & Julie Benson
Claire Roe (Artist)

The series is part of the DC Rebirth rebrand; Batgirl & the Birds of Prey reintroduces the female crime-fighting trio. When a mysterious criminal operative calling themself, Oracle declares war on Gotham. Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress once again team up. As you can imagine Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, and the former hero Oracle take exception to someone smearing the name of her legacy.
Collects Batgirl & the Birds of Prey #1-6 and Batgirl & the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1.

My Rating: ☕☕☕☕/5

This serves as a great re-introduction to Batgirl, Black Canary and Huntress. Re-telling their origins story in the new “Rebirth” timeline. So, it is an introduction to this female fighting team. Barbara Gordon’s flashbacks show both her origins stories. First, her becoming Batgirl, influenced by her father and Batman. Next, her encounter with Joker which leaves her paralysed. Which lead to her origin as the original Oracle, a cyber-superhero.

I loved Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey series and hated that series in the New 52 reboot. So, when DC announced the reboot of the The Birds of Prey series, I was thrilled. The original series is a joyous tale of the dynamic of the female team. Characters who work so well together as colleagues and friends. As this is an introduction to the Birds of Prey, that relationship is missing in the book. But I hope that progresses as the series continues. The plot is a little light, as it’s mainly serving as an origins story. But they are still mysteries to solve and plenty of fighting!

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Batgirl: Beyond Burnside

Hope Larson
Rafael Alburquerque (Artist)

When Barbara Gordon plans a trip to train with the greatest fighters in the Far East. She has no idea her vigilante life will follow her. Warriors, each bearing the mysterious mark of “The Student,” attack her as she travels across Asia. But where they are Students, there must also be A Teacher.

Batgirl’s hunt for the Teacher takes her from Okinawa to Singapore to Seoul to Shanghai. Along the way, she enhances her martial arts skills and meets her legendary heroes.
Collects Batgirl #1-6.

Rating: ☕☕☕/5

Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the New 52 storylines or artwork. Yes, I was happy to have Barbara Gordon back as Batgirl in her own series. But I didn’t like the new “hipster “style or plots. So, I was happy for this reboot, hoping to see a change in direction. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Unlike other first issues within the Rebirth series, this isn’t a retelling of Batgirl’s origin story. For that, you must read Batgirl & The Birds of Prey. Instead, this is a storyline that takes Barbara away from Burnside (and Gotham). A new story to show off her fighting styles in different Asian cities.

One thing I did like in the New 52 period was the new costume. And I am happy to see that stayed. The new artwork in Rebirth is a vast improvement and works so well for the suit.

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Featured Image by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels