Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ardian Syaf
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Adam Huges
Editors: Katie Kubert & Bobbie Chase
Now THIS is more like it! For three issues, as much as I’ve enjoyed them, we’ve been getting a Barbara Gordon/Batgirl who felt to timid to be a superhero due to the baggage left back in the seat of her wheelchair. Finally, the Batgirl we all knew and loved has come back to us, using her brains and top notch fighting skills rather than reverting back to her days of teenaged arrogance and inexperience.
Simone mixes a lot of fantastic literary qualities into this particular issue, filled with laughs, nostalgic moments, dramatic occurrences, and some tender instances. One scene in particular where Batgirl saves two innocent bystanders from the violent hands of a band of thugs (who rely too much on faulty phone apps to avoid superheroic detection) and embraces a wonderful moment of sentimentality that is sadly absent from most of the male superheroes.
The final battle between the Mirror and Batgirl had Simone’s signature all over it; everything coming together to give Batgirl a reason to deliver an excellent bit public oratory worthy of an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. However, since this is a comic book, with no way of giving an actress the chance of obtaining that nomination, a letter to the villain was all that was needed to successfully execute the emotional twist of this issue.
The whole notion that millions have endured tragedy and the loss of loved ones, moving on with their lives where he hadn’t the courage to do so, is an exceptionally strong message that anyone could learn from and take to heart. To make others pay for your pain, innocent people who have nothing to with you, is a selfish act no matter how you look at it.
It also allows Batgirl that moment of realization that THIS is a new era in her life. She’s out of practice, yes, but she’s realized that it’s not JUST her ability to do flips and kicks that makes her who she is, but her brilliant mind she developed as Oracle which makes her potentially one of the most cunning superheroes in DC’s repertoire. All she needed was that moment of truth to recognize and remember that.
The opening sequence was a bit much for me. Maybe the Mirror’s power truly does help one to see things in his or her past in an amplified negative light, but I didn’t buy the whole “Barabara fights herself” monologue. But it was set up very creatively, with Batgirl in the wheelchair, and Barbara standing up, walking around.
Syaf is an artistic magician. The definition within in every character, landscape and constructions are perfect, without flaw. Arreola also displays a mastery of light and shadow, giving so much depth to the colors in this dark and gothic world of Batgirl.It’s likely that this might be the best work I’ve seen Syaf and Arreola do this year.
This comic is on the verge of being one of DC’s BETTER books, but it’s still timid and playing it safe enough to the point where it just hasn’t broke out in excellence like Suicide Squad, Swamp Thing, Action and Detective Comics have. However, Batgirl has reached my “4 issue” trial period and is definitely staying on my pull list. I can’t wait to see how Barbara’s story behind her mysterious recovery is unveiled and how she uses her new found strength in the future.
9 Out Of 10 Stars