Apparently author Gail Simone didn’t quite understand the Court of Owls’ evil plan. There are going to be a few spoilers here because I have to write down the evil plot of this issue. It’s just so dumb. So incredibly dumb. Is it a better issue than last month’s? Sure. Well, it didn’t enrage me with its stupidity quite as much, let’s put it that way. The art looks great as always. Syaf does a great job except for the final fight and the colors really pop (even batgirl’s cape stayed the same color throughout this issue). Where the book fails though, is the story. Simone totally dropped the ball here. It’s as if she totally ignored what the threat to Jim Gordon was. It’s death, by the way! The talons are coming to kill Gotham’s most important citizens and there’s no greater ally to Batman, no better representative of the good Gotham’s citizens can do than Jim Gordon. Why Simone decided to ignore all of that is beyond me.
The Evil Plot
There’s a list with names on it. Each name is a target to be killed by Talon assassins. The bat-family is in a race against the clock to stop the assassinations from happening. Batgirl’s own father is on that list. This should easily be the Night of Owls tie-in with the most emotional weight, right? And if the Court was as smart as they claim to be, you would also think that they would attack Jim Gordon at home or on the street rather than when he is inside the police department. Well that’s not how it plays out.
You may also think that with an assault on the police department the Court would send far more Talons than they did to Wayne Manor (they didn’t know Bruce was Batman until they followed Alfred to the cave, why did they send dozens of Talons for one man?). “Batgirl” #9 instead shows the Court sending one Talon for this job. A Talon who for some reason decides to start off the night with a bombing in Little Jakarta, home of Gotham’s best take-out restaurants. Forget the police commissioner, Gotham will not be eating Indonesian food tonight! And once she’s done ruining everyone’s dinner plans, she waits like an hour, hour and a half before moving on to the main goal.
Before the Talon moves in– I should just say “stands on the rooftop” because that’s all she does. She never shares the same panel as Jim Gordon. Ever. Gordon is never even aware that a Talon is after him. All this Talon does is stand on rooftops and not kill Batgirl (because she wears a mask too and undestands…whatever that means)– a mysterious Court member confronts Gordon on the street (great time to kill the old man, really), threatening him to not light the bat signal or contact his daughter. If he does either of these, they will kill Barbara. Only the plan is really to make Gordon light the batsignal! See, if they tell Gordon NOT to light it, he’ll definitely want to light it. Right? But…Gordon would light the signal anyway! They know this. He always lights the signal, especially when there’s a big threat like the bombing of Gotham or an assault on the police department. So why threaten him when you can just let things run their course? Even worse, the signal they want him to light isn’t even the bat signal. The court of owls replaced the batsignal with an Owl Signal…so why didn’t they just light it when they put it up there in the first place? How did they put it up there? Do they have members working inside the police department and if so wouldn’t they be better suited to kill Jim Gordon as opposed to the chick dressed as a ninja? Why did they have to light it from the GCPD building, why not any other building? And after Gordon switches it on and sees that it’s an Owl symbol and not a bat, why the hell doesn’t he turn the damn thing back off?!
So that’s it. They aren’t really trying to kill Jim Gordon. There’s a Talon there, but she’s not really doing anything. They just want him to turn on the signal that they made so everyone knows Gotham belongs to the Owls. Which brings me to my next point:
How are the Owls planning on holding onto Gotham after they sack it? Even if we ignore the greater DC universe’s league of heroes who could clean up this mess in the blink of an eye (which is the only way to really enjoy a Batman comic), there’s always the US military that would surely step in and put a stop to all of this. What’s do the Owls want to do with Gotham once it’s theirs?
If you don’t question any of the action on these pages, you’ll have an alright experience. It’s well drawn, vividly colored, and action packed. But if you think about what you’re reading for just a little bit I don’t see how you could enjoy this. “Batgirl” #9 should have been the very best of all of the Night of the Owl crossover issues but instead it’s one big missed opportunity. I will say that the origins of the Talon in this issue are kind of interesting. It’s a story that dates back to 1944 and shows us how yet another child was taken under the wing of The Court of Owls. Those 4 pages however, are not worth $2.99 and the characters in those pages didn’t even matter to the greater story being told. At all. I say skip this one and if Batgirl doesn’t clean up its act soon– drop the series from your pull-list entirely.