The stakes were high in this very impressive issue of Batgirl.
It has always been my opinion that one of the coolest aspects of being a member of the Bat Family is the type of situations they dare to walk into. Whether it be Batman swinging into the top floor of a parking garage to take on the ruthless killer Mr. Zsasz, or in this case Batgirl heading into a dump of a house to take on a truly deranged and murderous woman, and her seemingly living ventriloquist doll.
These are some of the low key but nevertheless strong Batman stories that I always enjoy reading. They are especially inspiring because these situations are extremely dangerous, but on the grand scale are relatively small.
In this case, there is one person’s life at stake, but that is more than enough reason for Batgirl to risk her life. The value the Bat family puts on a single person’s life is part of what makes them such great characters. Even if there is a high risk of being killed, they will happily go into the scariest situations, because saving even one life is more than worth it.
This is the type of situation Batgirl found herself in this week’s issue. Distraught after recently being forced to kill her sociopathic and murderous brother James Gordon Jr. This issue has Nightwing trying to console her, and also her parents’ troubles in their relationship. This turmoil is all caused by the death of James Jr. and Barabara’s part in it.
Despite the fact that she is going through a very trying time in her life. There is still work to be done. The ventriloquist, a villain who is truly sick and twisted in the head, is holding a celebrity hostage.
This is the point where the issue really starts to get good. Even though Barbara is going through one of the most trying periods of her life, someone else’s life is in serious jeopardy, and Barbara knows she can help. She puts her troubles aside, and puts herself into an extremely dangerous situation in order to save a life.
Ventriloquist, the villain holding the woman hostage, is truly scary and disturbed. Living in a house that is beyond extremely unsanitary, having a deranged appearance, and with writer Gail Simone letting the reader know about terrible atrocities she has comitted, she is truly a force of evil to be reckoned with.
The villain, her terrible qualities, and her ability to animate corpses and ventriloquist dummies, show the reader how much courage Batgirl must have to take her on.
Once the fighting starts between Batgirl and the Ventriloquist, convention does start to creep its way into the story, and the ending is not very shocking, and is actually to be expected. However, the sheer evil that the villain represents gave me the chills while I was reading, and even though ending was conventional, it was nevertheless very satisfying.
Overall this was a great issue. Gail Simone did a great job of conveying to the reader how much bravery Barbara has by showing how scary the evil she must battle really is.
My favorite aspect of this issue was that Barbara could have taken the night off, and no one would have blamed her. She had just dealt with a very traumatic event, and could have easily taken time off to regroup and grieve. However, someone needed her help, and she was not going to let anyone die just because she was going through a hard time, because to the Bat family every single life matters. Even one casualty on their watch is a failure.
I was also very impressed by the art in this issue. Artist Fernando Pasarin is a great artist, and the scenes out in the city where there were fights in the rain, as well a scene with Batgirl riding a motorcycle with city light shining on her were especially impressive.
This was an all around great issue. The only suggestion would be to have a less predictable conclusion to the story, but I want to stress that I really enjoyed this issue, and am looking forward to the next issue of Batgirl.