Comic Vine Review

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Batgirl #18 - The Mask of Ashes

3

It's Batgirl vs James Gordon Jr and check out what happens when Barbara finds out about a certain death.

The Good

Batgirl is literally thrown into the fire as she does her best to save people in a building full of explosives. This is Batgirl being a hero. We see her laying her life on the line for others. During this, we get to see more of James Jr, plotting his next move against her. It's a little creepy, in a good way, seeing how he observes her and the thoughts going through his head.

This issue also touches on the recent loss Batman is going through. It's handled in a great way. You almost want to see more but because this is Batgirl's book, what we see is the right amount of emotion from the bearer of the news. Ray Fawkes handles this nicely and does a great job with James Jr's thoughts. Daniel Sampere also does a great job showing Barbara recovering from taking a beating. We don't often see the heroes bandaging themselves or suffer from scrapes and bruises.

The Bad

Even though we have Batman Incorporated in the DCU, seeing a bunch of spectators cheering on Batgirl or proclaiming her to be a hero just felt like a bit much. I can understand the public being aware of them but I'm still used to them working more in the shadows.

The main villain Batgirl was facing, Firebug, just didn't come across as that compelling of a foe. His focus in the story felt more like a hindrance of the James Jr or Robin parts.

The Verdict

Ray Fawkes takes over and we get to see Batgirl thrown into some heated action. As she takes on Firebug, her brother, James Jr, continues to plot her demise. It's a crazy game of cat-and-mouse mixed in with some fallout from BATMAN INCORPORATED #8. We get a nice outside view of the tragic events which leaves you craving more. It's great seeing a superhero comic where the hero actually shows signs of being in a fight. With Firebug being the main threat in the issue, it almost feels like his story is getting in the way as we want to see more on James Jr or on the fallout. The stage is being set and we should have an interesting showdown next issue.