Batgirl 13
Gail Simone, Ed Benes

Death of the Family Prologue

Spoiler alert!  You have been warned!

In this issue, we get the last part of Batgirl’s fight with new villain, Knightfall.  And it was a pretty good conclusion, but what’s coming next is why everyone really picked up this one.  I for one was pumped when I saw the Joker’s face on top of Barbara’s on the cover, but even though it is labeled as such, this is hardly what I would call a crossover with Death of the Family.  That being said, there are some positives for this issue, and it was clearly labeled as a prologue.  There is great art during fight sequence and throughout the book, which overshadows the cliché villain dialogue and hardly original plot.  To be honest, this whole series has been the weakest of the numerous Bat family books, but I remain hopeful.

Death of the Family Promo

The Joker’s return will be neat, but we don’t get that in this issue.  What we do get is a couple of seeds being planted, and a couple of great scenes that will lead into greater moments down the road.  James Gordon Jr. gave Barbara’s roommate a cat and is watching her fight with Knightfall, which raises a series of questions.  Will Batgirl’s brother be involved in the Joker’s return?  Will he become the new Joker?  Scott Snyder made him relevant and terrifying, and Simone is milking that creepiness, so let’s see where she takes this.  There is also a great cliffhanger ending with Barbara’s mom, as Joker’s thugs break into her apartment while she’s on the phone with her daughter.  Will it be a race to save her?  Or would Simone really kill her off?

Though she was thrown a curve ball with the “un-Oracleing” of Babs, Simone’s doing her best.  But it seems like this is simply a transition for the writer to get handle on this new (old) version of one of the greatest female characters in comic book history.  Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s got it down.  So as long as she slows down a bit with the character building and exploration of themes that we already know and understand, I’m excited to see what’s next.  We’ve had fourteen issues of relatively no action, but the character-building and witty dialogue has kept me around.  Hopefully Barbara’s confrontation with the man who put her in a wheelchair will draw some new fans into the book.  And hopefully the creators can keep those readers.

My Rating: 4/5