Say what you will about the hard-to-swallow motivations of some of the characters and the sporadic release schedule of this arc, but the covers for Batgirl: Wanted have been breath-taking and issue #26 is no exception. Best of all, I think fans of Gail Simone’s Barbara Gordon will be equally pleased with what’s behind that gorgeous cover! After what feels like, well, a very long time, the oft-interrupted Batgirl: Wanted comes to a close in this plus-sized $3.99 finale that features Barbara donning the cape and cowl to rescue her father from The Disgraced, a team comprised of all the major Batgirl villains we’ve seen over the course of the past 26 issues. In a way, it not only feels like a grand ending to one of the series’ most intense storylines, but an even grander finale for the entire run that closes one  long and very dark chapter of Barbara’s life.

I honestly started out taking a bunch of notes with this issue. Line after line of nitpicks and deeper criticisms ranging from “How is Mirror ‘the most dangerous’ when there’s a she-hulk and a guy who can shoot lightning? Mirror has no powers and wears a mask and cape made of easily shattered glass.” to “There’s no reason for these bad guys to be struggling with Gordon. Gretel has the power to hypnotically control men. Also, she’s not supposed to be able to feel pain yet she cries out in agony more than anyone in this issue.” and “The inner monologue is gradually turning from Barbara Gordon into Jack Bauer.” But after a few pages I forgot to continue my notes and that’s usually when I know a comic is entertaining. If the fact that I need to write an essay about this thing slips my mind then it’s probably worth picking up.

The action is enthralling, folks. Barbara rushes in to save her pop and then the two of them hole up in the basement, set aside their differences, and fight back– what’s not to like about that? Well, obviously, whenever they start bringing up James Junior (who we’ve all known isn’t really dead this entire time so what was intended to be the biggest emotional weight of the arc has been absent)  

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and when Barbara damn-near throws a batarang into Mirror’s eye, the same thing that got her into this mess with her father in the first place
but besides that what we have here is good. A father/daughter team-up against every villain from the past 2 year’s worth of comics? That’s awesome. And penciler Daniel Sampere draws it better than any other issue in the arc. There’s a two-page spread of Batgirl crashing through on a motorcycle that’s especially jaw-dropping.

Every other chapter of Batgirl: Wanted was too melodramatic for my taste, but issue #26 “Ambush” is fun and ties everything up wonderfully.

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I could’ve done without Barbara’s attempt to reveal her identity to Gordon, though. That felt less like an homage (like the Tim Burton-esque final panel) and more like a complete rip-off of one of the best scenes from No Man’s Land.

Recommended If…

  • You’ve kept up with the Batgirl: Wanted arc from the beginning
  • You want to see Batgirl kick ass. There’s a lot of action here, some of the best action you’ll see in a bat-title today
  • You’ve been anxious to see Barbara accept the name of Batgirl again
  • You like it when everything comes together. Gail Simone does a fine job of connecting every arc in her run and giving this story a satisfying finale

Overall

Long overdue, “Ambush” has its problems but it rises above them to become the best finale any New 52 Batgirl story has had to date.

SCORE: 7.5/10