Spinning out of the Wanted arc and then the Gothtopia tie-in last month, the new issue of Batgirl goes in a surprisingly different place as Gail Simone explores the thematic links between Gotham’s Bat-family and vampires of urban myths. As I keep saying, Gail Simone has made this title one of DC’s relative heavyweights since the New 52 relaunch, and its definitely one of my highest anticipated titles of each month. The Wanted arc was pretty damn excellent, and now it looks like we might be getting some smaller stories again, like the Ventriloquist 2-issue arc that we had before Wanted.
Barbara has been through a ton of things recently, and she is still picking up the pieces of her life. Its not easy, especially not when a madman comes into town, seemingly intent on some kind of righteous vengeance, a complete and total loon as it were. But she does gain an ally, someone who hasn’t been around in the series for a while and her return is quite fun indeed since I love her as a character and Gail injects a lot of humour in her scenes. To top it all off, Fernando Pasarin and Jonathan Glapion’s art is excellent as ever, another plus.
Last week DC released Detective Comics #27 an anniversary issue of the series which commemorated the original Detective Comics #27 in which Bat-Man made his first-ever appearance. In this anthology issue was a piece by writer John Layman and artists Jason Fabok and Tomeu Morey in which we saw a very different version of Gotham in which the city is a utopia, with the lowest crime-rate in the entire United States. At the end of the issue there was a substantial reveal that hinted at a much larger story, and this week’s Batgirl #27 is the first issue to follow on from there and build on the concepts introduced.
In the vein of that story, we see an alternative take on Barbara Gordon and the city of Gotham, where things are actually cheerful. Gone are the dark Gothic trappings of the city, replaced by sunshine and positivity that gives you a pause. Of course, this is only a thin veneer that hides a dark truth and the issue is spent dealing with that, in a somewhat oblique way. Fresh from wrapping her Wanted arc, Gail dives head-first into the Gothtopia crossover and she delivers another great issue with new artist Robert Gill.
We are finally here, the end of the Wanted arc for Batgirl which put Barbara through some of her most trying moments in life. Having killed her monster of a brother, then gone up against the psychopathic Ventriloquist and then on the run from the Gotham Police for her brother’s murder, Barbara has gone through the lowest of low moments, emotionally speaking. The interruption of the Zero Year issue last month by Marguerite Bennett was extremely frustrating since otherwise #25 would have ended this fantastic story arc, something I’d really been looking forward to. But no matter, it came out this week and it left me completely amazed.
I’m really sad that this arc is over. It was a short arc, as such things go, but by god, Gail Simone did some of her best writing in this arc, especially where Barbara herself as a character is concerned, let alone her father Commissioner Gordon. There are a lot of things that made this issue amazing, such as the art by Daniel Sampere, Steve Wands, Blond and Jonathan Glapion, or the mind-blowing cover by Alex Garner. Everything was pretty much pitch-perfect here.
There are some comics out there that are all action and little plot/characterisation. There are some comics that are the reverse as well, heavy on the plot/characterisation and little action. In that regard, there are few comics that manage to balance the two, and balance them well at that. This is where Gail Simone’s current run on Batgirl comes in because it is one of those few ongoing series that maintains that balance.
When last we were with Barbara Gordon, she had just suffered one of the lowest points of her life and things looked really dire for her as the Wanted arc kicked off to fanfare and horribly moving moments. As with Scott Snyder’s Batman, Gail’s Batgirl is one of the very few DC books that manages to be helluva consistent issue to issue, and Batgirl #24 is the latest in that stellar consistency.
So, I just finished reading the new issue of Batgirl by Gail Simone. For the fourth time. I’ve never done that before, ever. There hasn’t been a comic yet that has gotten to me like this one has. Through all the ups and down this title has seen since launch, I’ve stuck with it. Well, technically, I only started reading sometime in August last year, or thereabouts, so I haven’t been reading long, but I’ve stuck with each issue. Gail Simone is one of my favourite writers in the industry right now and a big reason for that is this book.
As someone who was never interested in the character before, much like with Aquaman, Gail got me invested in the character. She got me to vividly experience all the ups and down that Barbara Gordon, formerly Oracle and wheelchair-bound, experienced in the New 52. And with this issue, she’s hit everything home in the worst way possible. And I mean that in a good way.
Note: spoilers for the previous story arcs now follow, so best be aware of that.