Batgirl #32 (Comics Review)

After finishing up her big Wanted arc, writer Gail Simone then delved into a few short arcs and one-shots as part of her run on Batgirl and that proved to be a great move since it helped break the monotony of the longer arcs and provided lots of great jumping-on points for new readers, especially with the short and sweet Gothtopia event that she participated in. And ever since Wanted, there have been some really strong themes that have been carried forward and now with the advent of the Batman: Eternal weekly series, things look set to change even more.

Batgirl #32 is about more than just Batgirl’s problems. There is, in fact, a hell of a lot going on. Charise Carnes aka Knightfall is still planning her takeover of Gotham. Barbara’s boyfriend Ricky is planning to sue her father for shooting him during a botched GCPD raid a few weeks ago. Commissioner Gordon is still in jail following the opening issue of Batman: Eternal and just overall, Gotham is not the place that it was for us readers just a few months ago. And in the midst of it all, lots of new storylines are branching off, and its going to be interesting to see how Gail Simone manages to work it all together.

Batgirl 032One thing about this comic is that while it feels a very Gail Simone Batgirl story, it also misses a few beats. The whole Batman: Eternal angle, with the new Commissioner Jack Forbes making it his mission to take down vigilantes instead of hunting down criminals, and the gang-warfare between Carmine Falcone and The Penguin isn’t really reflected here. And in the midst of all this Charise Carnes’ bid to take over the city just feels strange. So, not that this comic isn’t great, which it is, it is just that it doesn’t seem to tie together with the other comics so well, and that I think is the only real negative of this issue, and where it doesn’t feel so… put together.

Because the thing is that I loved the multi-layered feel of this issue. With all that’s going on, for a moment I thought that Gail Simone had overextended herself, but far from it. She navigates all the plot-lines pretty skillfully and she does indeed give a nod to some of the goings-on in the other Bat-books, so that works for me for now. It is the nature of the shared universe storytelling, especially when the connections are as personal as they are in these particular comics.

True to form, there are some great classic Gail Simone moments here. Such as when Barbara comes back home from kicking some villain ass to find out that her roommate Alyssa had had someone over for a date. Alyssa came out a while back as a trans character if I remember correctly, and now we see that she is romantically involved with another woman. Small steps, we are getting towards more diversity in comics. If only more creators were able to go the same route.

There are also some nice scenes here between Batgirl and Black Canary, two of the most solid friends in the entire DC-verse, going back to the days of the Birds of Prey under both Chuck Dixon and then Gail Simone herself when Barbara was still in a wheelchair and went by Oracle instead of Batgirl. The twists just keep on coming in the final pages of this comic and the very last page just blew my mind. The setup is very, very sudden, but this is something that I’ve been looking forward for a while and I can’t wait to see what Gail does with that.

Fernando Pasarin is back with Jonathan Glapion, Blond, Dave Sharpe and Alex Garner for this issue. For some reason, I thought that Fernando’s characterwork wasn’t so solid this month, partly because his primary female characters all seemed too similar and in at least one panel Charise Carnes is drawn really odd, as if she is an old and wrinkled woman rather than someone in the prime of her life. Other than that, the colours and inks were great as usual. And that final twist I mentioned, Fernando and the others seem to have this character well in hand and make said character out to be quite the badass so that makes up for some of the shortcomings of the artwork this time around.

All in all, a pretty good issue that reads really quickly and juggles a lot of things really well. Just needs some smoothing over in context to the other Bat-books is all.

Rating: 9/10

More Batgirl: Vol.1, Vol.2, #23, #24, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31.


Posted on June 12, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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