Even though I loathe anytime a member of the bat-family fights meta-humans I actually enjoyed this. I think any fan of Barbara who has loved this series since the beginning is going to be thrilled with this issue because it’s the return of a more confident, tactical Batgirl and it references quite a bit of plot points that longtime fans of this serious will instantly recognize and get excited about. It’s one of the best issues of “Batgirl” in some time from start to finish. I really like the coloring of the book’s cover but I’m not sure if everybody is flying or what exactly Barbara is doing. She has her fist up like she just missed a punch and her leg is way above her head but nobody is even close to her foot so I don’t know if she was trying to kick or if she’s just showing off some dance moves. Either way, it looks pretty as long as I don’t think about what sh’es doing. And as excited I am to see “The Dark Knight Rises” next week I wish DC would keep the ads off the covers. Anyway, on to the contents within…
First of all, this isn’t the best book for new readers. If you’re new to the series, you’ll want to pick up the issue #10 as well as this when you go into the comic shop today. As for the rest of us, when we last saw Batgirl she was on a rooftop with three other masked vigilantes and a yet to be introduced new villain named Knightfall. We meet Knightfall in this issue and she has an interesting look that’s kind of like a combo between Azrael and Spoiler and she has a motive that makes far, far more sense than previous villains Mirror, Gretel, or Grotesque.
The opening pages are great, action packed fun. I just wish that we didn’t have to do so much recapping of the previous issue. DC needs to do like Marvel and have an introductory page that gives a full “Previously on…” rundown. Recapping like this is great for monthly issues when you forget what happened 30 days ago when the last installment was released, but when it’s collected in a trade it all seems pretty redundant.
But man, those opening pages are fun. And surprisingly pottymouthed. Who would’ve thought Barbara swore more than Jason Todd? The words “Damn!” and “Dammit!” are used so much that I thought I was watching an episode of “24”. And I love, love, LOVE how she actually flat-out states what the remaining contents of her utility belt are. It’s the little things that make me happy. The utility belt is often used more as a deus ex machine where Batman or anyone else who wears one can reach in and pull out a sonic-blaster or antidote or 9000 batarangs and knowing that she only has a few limited supplies left gives the scene a lot more weight. So what if the winged girl, acid fingers, and She-Hulk henchman are lame? The fight was a joy to read.
Of course it’s not all fisticuffs, but I don’t want to give any of the later stuff away (especially the ending). I’ll just say that James Jr. shows back up and I was pleased with how he was handled. It’s very subtle, but wonderfully creepy. And we learn more about Knightfall and another character and it all gets a bit convoluted but there’s enough good stuff here to outweigh the things I didn’t care about. There’s also a lettering mistake “There’s no saving them. They’re seen so much horror.” that was distracting, but oh well. Hopefully they’ll fix that in the trade.
As always the art by Ardian Syaf looks great (I like the design of Knightfall even though we can’t see her face yet, and the action was handled brilliantly) and the colors by Arreola continue to give “Batgirl” its distinctive look of velvety purples and other vibrant hues you don’t see in any other bat-title.
This is the most fun I’ve had reading a “Batgirl” comic since the launch, but I could do without all the super-powered foes. It seems like that’s the only kind of enemy Batgirl fights anymore.