Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Simone, Syaf, Martinez & Cifuentes
This is the issue that may turn the corner for my interest in this title. Up to this point, Batgirl has been dancing around the events that put her in a wheelchair. It’s been ever present, but barely explored. As a subplot, Barbara Gordon’s mom is back in the picture but again, shady in the details as to why she left and why she is back. This issue provides answers and they are so gripping that the comic turns into a deep drama where the façade is the female caped crusader. I found the events in this book to be among the best in the eight issues thus far and it helps to ensure that I will continue to pick up the book.
The nagging piece of Barbara Gordon’s past is not how she rehabbed out of the wheelchair, but how DC was going to play the events that put her in the chair, pre-reboot of the character. The Killing Joke is among the classic stories and the defining comic for this character over a long period of time. What Simone does is take a random character from that book and infuses a level of humanitarian in him to add a new layer of complexity to the Killing Joke’s events. After reading this issue I can see many more emotional struggles waiting to surface in the character of Barbara Gordon. Simone’s choices here are nothing short of brilliant.
As if the expansion of the Killing Joke wasn’t enough, Simone brings to light a very sad and complicated element to Barbara’s mom’s choice to leave her family when Barbara was a young girl. The revelation and how it all gets tied in will surely create a good set of stories to explore Barbara’s emotion state as well as the fallout of other characters she interfaces with, such as her father.
There are three pencil credits and two of them take on the inking duties, but the issue is still surprising detailed and consistent. The art is very lively and there are plenty of close-ups on the action and villains that help bring the story to life. There are a few panels where Barbara’s reaction just doesn’t line up with the dialogue and that is one of the few downsides to the comic book. There are a couple of key panels that lead into the cliffhanger that are done beautifully. Overall, this is visually a very good book.
Batgirl has seemed like a book going through the motions. Simone opened with an arc that was trying to establish a villain and introduce the readers to a new version of the character. The book seemed to be lifeless. However, this is the issue that Simone shows the events that shaped Barbara Gordon up to this point and provides some earthshattering changes that will alter her from this point going forward. This is a good issue.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles