New 52 – Batgirl #16 review


So basically it looks like every Death of the Family tie-in this month will have the same final page and you’ll have to wait for a real conclusion to happen in Batman #17.

The past couple issues of Batgirl were phenomenal but this one was severely disappointing. I get the feeling that Gail Simone had a really cool idea for a Joker and Batgirl wedding but her hands were tied here and that entire plotline went nowhere at all. Now that it’s over I can’t help but wish she had saved this idea for farther down the road when she would’ve had complete control over the story. I mean I am really disappointed! The Batgirl tie-ins were the very best and actually appeared to be building toward something memorable, but it all dissolves here so that we get the same teaser page from Batman & Robin #16 telling us to go buy Batman #17.

It’s an anti-climax. We’ve known all along that there was no way that any of these tie-ins could have a satisfying conclusion. Nobody is going to take down Joker except for Scott Snyder’s Batman so the only victory these other heroes can take is the satisfaction that they knocked out one of Joker’s teeth before he stood right back up and walked over to Batman #17.

The comic started out well enough with a flashback to Barbara’s wheelchair days and a visit to a psychiatrist. It was a very somber opening and we got to go a little deeper into just how willing Barbara is to kill the Joker in this issue and that was probably the most interesting aspect about it and will lead to some debate as to whether or not Barbara’s willingness to take a life has gone too far. Then we move to present day and the chapel where Batgirl and Joker are to be wed. Immediately I could tell that things weren’t going to play out to the fullest because Joker was still dressed as a mechanic and there was no greater pageantry than having his henchmen dressed in tuxes. If Joker’s going to do something this important he’s going to do it in style and these visuals did not reflect that. A turn of the page and things fall apart into a bloody and well drawn fight scene, a blackout, and the teaser page which we’ll likely see at the end of Nightwing, Red Hood & the Outlaws, and Teen Titans this month as well.

On the plus side, seeing Barbara fight back and get angry was fantastic but sadly she isn’t the one who saved the day. Well, really “saved the day” isn’t the right choice of words but they dealt a heavier blow to the Joker than Batgirl and that was something that hurt this issue for me. All of the bat-allies are going to fail this month, but that doesn’t mean that Babs should have to be upstaged as well.

James Gordon Jr. I…I don’t like this character. There. I said it. I enjoyed The Black Mirror as a story but I don’t like the idea of James Jr. because he is an added tragedy to the life of Commissioner Gordon, a character who really didn’t need more misery. If anything, it would’ve been more interesting for me if James Jr. had been trying to follow in his father’s footsteps to be a cop and Gordon disapproved or maybe had Junior just been a troubled teen who Gordon tried to get on the straight and narrow, but Batman kept catching him and the two friends would butt heads over the boy’s future. Serial killer is too over the top for me. And by making his son a serial killer it could only lead to awful stories of his son being a recurring villain. Going toe-to-toe with the Joker? He really shouldn’t be this formidable. Not only is he capable of knowing the Joker’s every move when Batman doesn’t, but he foils Joker’s plan here at the church by using grenades and makes off with Joker’s hostage. It’s too much. And why does he bring not one, but TWO fake grenades to bluff with when he owns real grenades?
Also, the way the comic ended (in the pages before the teaser image) was pretty…explosive and yet nobody is harmed. It’s all just swept under the rug and we move on to Batman #17.
A grenade goes off in Joker’s face and he survives? Batgirl survives too? Maybe grenades aren’t as impressive as I think they are, but still…it was right in front of Joker’s nose and Joker doesn’t even have a face as a last line of defense between himself and said grenade. If Joker still has Batgirl in his possession  why wouldn’t he just get another chainsaw and go ahead with the plan of cutting off her limbs? Everything set up in this comic just gets scrapped for what Snyder has planned.

It’s not a terrible comic and even with it having a fill-in artist halfway through I though that the artwork was an improvement over issue #15. It’s just that it had so much squandered potential. A Batgirl and Joker wedding is such a twisted and fun idea and it was all tossed out the window so another character who is not Batgirl could have a big moment to look more impressive and we could all see what is basically an advertisement for another comic book coming out next month. It’s going to translate pretty poorly to a TPB when folks get to this point in the story and have to grab another TPB to see how it all ends.

SCORE: 6.5/10