The Psychotic Perspective: Batgirl 12
Every Time I Fail
This is only my second issue of Batgirl since the DCNU started, and I found it to be a very good read.
I, like most fans, was annoyed to hear that Barbara would be returning to the role of Batgirl. She played such an amazing role as Oracle that she has probably done more damage than good by returning to the streets and vacating her wheelchair, but though I dislike the editorial move of giving Barbara back the use of her legs, I am delighted that Barbara continues to have excellent stories under the writing of fan favorite Gail Simone.
The artwork is top notch conveying the story and refraining from the exploitatation of heroines which is so common in the comic medium. In case that was not clear, I am glad to report that though Barbara is wearing a tight suit, it at least does not appear to have been painted on her person nor does it seem as if her bosom might bust out at any given moment. All the characters felt true to their roots and made me eager to see all of them in further stories. I did get the feeling that this Barbara was a tiny bit less mature than in her previous incarnations. She did not seem immature per say, but she just felt a little more youthful which I suppose is the result of the reboot. The story was good, the action was well executed, and the villain was intriguing. To cut a long story short, just about everything in the book was excellent.
That being said, let me nitpick.
Batgirl vs. Batwoman
In this issue, Barbara tangles with Batwoman, a relative newcomer on the streets of Gotham who has barely been in operation, by my guesstimate (who really knows after the reboot?), for half a year. I presume that Barbara operated for a couple years before receiving the wound which left her a paraplegic, and I would therefore expect her to give Kate (Batwoman) a very good fight. This is not the case. Batwoman beats the Bat S*** out of Batgirl leaving me along with many other fans puzzled. Kate trained at West Point previous to becoming a super heroine, but I would still guess Barbara to have the advantage when it comes to hand-to-hand fighting. Perhaps the defeat can be chocked up to Barbara’s recovery, but it still seems like Batgirl should have at least got a few hits in on Batwoman, and I was disappointed at her poor showing.
I also have some complaints about the villain. The name Knightfall really bugs me. I cannot seem to think of anything other than the famous Batman story arc of nineties which used the same name wherein Bane broke Batman’s back and thereby cemented his role as one of the best Batman villains of all time. Though the character Knightfall clearly has no relation to the nineties plot line, I can’t help but feel that the name is awkward. It would tantamount to naming a Green Lantern villain Emerald Twilight. Another minor issue I have with the villain is that Barbara Gordon is currently battling a society of self-styled and overly violent vigilantes in Gotham…the exact same town in which Nightwing is currently battling a society of self-styled and overly violent vigilantes. It seems to me that somebody in the Bat editing room should have delayed one of the stories for a year, but again, this is a minor complaint.
I was also annoyed when at the end of the issue,
To portray a human as living through these kinds of injuries on a regular basis undermines the idea that these characters are vulnerable and has led to the mocking title many have bestowed upon Bruce Wayne, the Bat God.
To wrap things up, I have minor complaints, but the book as a whole is excellent. I look forward to seeing where Gail takes the character next.