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Everybody has probably heard the big news already; Gail Simone has been fired off Batgirl. It seems an odd choice because Simone has a huge following, good sales, and a fairly consistent record of quality writing. I could have seen how she might have been let go in the early days of the DCNU since the original run of Batgirl left something to be desired, but it has been on a steady incline ever since, and I loved the last issue. Perplexing as it is, it will be interesting to see what Simone does with her least few issues of Batgirl.
Simone’s last issue featured Joker proposing marriage to a shocked Batgirl. Does this wedding lead to a happy ever after or is this a marriage made in Hell?
In this issue, readers see a flashback as Joker talks to a counselor about marriage advice, James Jr. goes to “comfort” Alysia, and Batgirl turns the tables on Joker.
This issue really bugged me because I felt it should have ended in this issue. There was a satisfying conclusion of sorts, and yet the story still continued. It was extremely frustrating to me.
(Spoiler) What bugged me was that Barbara was put in an inescapable trap, and she managed to figure it out by keeping Joker in the blast radius of his own deathtrap. She kicked his butt, and right about the time she could have saved her mom, Joker pulled out an ace he had stuck up his sleeve. There is nothing wrong with this from a narrative standpoint, but I went from being extremely excited to extremely disappointed at whiplash inducing speed.
I understand that Batgirl could not have won that easily because of the continuation of the overarching story line alone, but I find it hard to imagine a more satisfying conclusion than Barbara turning the tables on the master of the unexpected and pounding him into a whitish/green pulp. Moving things to a different setting with more hostages seems a bit convoluted and unnecessary, but perhaps Simone will surprise me and create something even better for the final act.
The Therapist Scene
I find this entire scene somewhat perplexing. On one hand, it served as an excellent way for Joker to voice his mock romantic plans with Batgirl, and the revelation of his proposed final plans for her is a chilling and heart wrenching thought, but on the other hand, the story took time to divulge that Joker is threatening this woman’s child, and for the moment, this seems completely disconnected from the regular plot. Furthermore, I am tired of seeing Joker get everything he wants just by threatening people’s families. Just shoot him in the head, and you have a much better chance of having a happy ending with your loved ones.
Maybe the therapist, Doctor Yi, will play an important role in the next issue, but it is hard to see how at the moment.
(Spoiler) Oh, one more thing, this scene ends with “make your own future” written on the wall, and I do not particularly see the relevance of that either. It might seem to thematically underscore the role of choice in this story, but the story seems to be taking away all of Barbara’s choices, so I am not sure what to make of that.
Lens Flares without a Lens
Somebody, I am guessing Ulises Arreola, the colorist, must really like the lens flare look. I do not know if he is just a big fan of Super 8 or what, but he copies that sort of look a lot in this issue. It somewhat makes sense in the scenes at the skating rink where there is a lot of light and Batgirl is supposed to be in a state of shock, but I think Arreola is using it a bit to liberally. Florescent lights, police cars, and even Batgirl’s freaking grappling hook explode with light. I do not much care for it.
Beyond that, the art looked solid in this issue.
Despite the fact that I have complained almost this entire review, this is actually a great issue. Though all my complaints are fair, they are all minor, and the turnaround Barbara managed to pull on Joker and the corresponding beating made me want to get up and cheer. I am a little worried the Simone will not be able to pull off a third act as satisfying as this one, but for that does not keep this from being a very satisfying issue. Fans of Batgirl and Death of the Family should definitely pick it up.