New 52 – Batgirl #13 review

If you want to see Batgirl kick some butt, you’ve come to the right place.

Issue #13 is being marketed as a major prelude to the Death of the Family crossover event and its even been given a snazzy die-cut cover this week advertising the fact, but that’s some pretty false advertising if you ask me. I imagine a lot of folks are going to buy this issue today based on the cover and they are going to be left very confused. The only mention of Death of the Family and Joker’s return is a single page teaser for what’s to come in issue #14. Issue #13 is actually the action packed conclusion to a 4 part saga. So if you’re a new reader, you should skip this and wait until issue #14. If you’ve been reading this saga from the beginning, however you can’t really miss out on this issue.

First of all it’s beautifully drawn and colored. I hope that Benes and Arreola stay on this title for a good long time. The only complaint I would have about the art is that there were a few too many shots in the opening pages that honed in on Barbara’s booty in what should have been a life-or-death situation. Other than occasional poses like that and it’s a gorgeous book that does action well and there is a lot of action here.

If you recall, and I really wish that DC would do the “Previously On…” page like Marvel does, Batgirl was stabbed in the left side (later in the book she describes how the blade injured her liver, but I thought that the liver was on the right side of the body) in the last issue by Knightfall. Now she has to muster every ounce of strength she has to bring Knightfall down while Batwoman and Det. McKenna storm the complex below. Knightfall makes a pretty good villain for Batgirl and she’s my favorite of all the baddies to be introduced in this series so far. However, her exchange with Batgirl lost momentum when for no apparent reason Knightfall starts monologuing about how she came to be. I had already heard enough about her origins in the previous issues and would’ve rather cut away to a scene of what Batwoman and McKenna were up to. Or even James Jr. for that matter who is hardly addressed at all. Knightfall’s life story was even harder to take seriously when she used the word “lulz”.

This 4-parter is one of the strongest Batgirl stories in my opinion but it still left me rather unsatisfied. The ending of…gosh, I don’t really want to call this the Knightfall Saga since that title belongs to another bat-tale of greater significance, but the ending of this arc doesn’t feel like an ending. One of the reasons is a spoiler so I’ll put that in tags:

Batgirl just lets Knightfall go. They say that they have McKenna, who is willing to go up against Knightfall, but then it shows the whole gang walk away and leave Knightfall behind. Then we see that all of Knightfall’s henchmen are still free as well. Batgirl didn’t stop Knightfall’s plan, she only delayed it by an evening. Knightfall threatens that she can’t be stopped because she has enough money to influence the courts and this causes Batgirl to buckle even though she is allied with Bruce Wayne, one of the richest men in the world and the guy who funds Batman Inc.

The other reason would be that it feels like it was cut short to make way for the Death in the Family tie-in. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you pick this issue up. Some very cool things are in store for Batgirl and it Knightfall again who is responsible, but we have to focus on Joker for the next few issues instead and put everything from the past 5 months on the back burner.

So I guess in the end I either wanted real closure in this issue before Death of the Family starts or for the Knightfall arc to go on a bit longer with the new and exciting developments that occur on the final pages.

SCORE: 6.5/10