Warning: Plot Point Discussion and Mild Spoilers Ahead
“Which one of you idiots wants their ass kicked first?” This quote from Batgirl sets the tone for this action-packed issue in which we see our heroine pick right up where she left off last month in her confrontation with the band of vigilantes known as The Disgraced. Led by Knightfall, heiress Charise Carnes’ costumed alter ego, we find that the goal of The Disgraced is to eradicate all crime in Gotham by annihilation, by killing all they view as sinners. If they succeed there will be no more prisons, no more Arkham…and much to Batgirl’s surprise, they want her to join their team. No longer plagued by her recent bouts of self-doubt, Batgirl rejects their offer and battle ensues. Soon overwhelmed by their superior numbers, she is saved by an unexpected source, from whom we learn more about Knightfall’s backstory. After a few startling revelations the story ends with one heck of a cliffhanger and, I must say, I’m absolutely itching to get my hands on next month’s issue!
Issue Eleven also includes a sub-plot in which James Gordon, Barbara’s long-lost serial killer brother, makes a full-fledged reappearance. He seems to be playing some sort of long game. After a night on the town, he brings an inebriated Alysia to her home and, after refusing her invitation to stay, gives her a seemingly innocent gift that surely foreshadows sinister things to come.
I enjoyed this month’s issue of Batgirl quite a lot. In fact, I’m enjoying Batgirl more and more as this New 52 series develops. Batgirl’s opening question is just one example of the verve that makes this character so enjoyable to me. Barbara’s inner monologue continues to demonstrate her personal evolution and is extremely well written. This title has very quickly gone to the top of my monthly pull-list and Gail Simone has easily become my favorite comic book writer.
Another aspect of this issue that I enjoyed is the treatment of The Disgraced. I found this group to be very psychologically interesting. I’ve often heard that “…the villain is the hero of his or her own story,” and this seems especially true in the case of The Disgraced. Their quest to purge Gotham’s criminal element via extermination is the flip-side of Charise Carnes’ foundation-funded, but grass root efforts to build better, safer neighborhoods. Their ideology seems twisted yet somehow still idealistic in its own way. I can’t help but wonder if such an approach might not be welcomed by some of those folks constantly preyed on by Gotham’s human predators. The questions raised certainly dovetail with those raised in last month’s issue and beg further examination.
The art in Issue Eleven continues to be strong. The red circled cross on Knightfall’s costume calls to mind the tabards worn by the knights during the Crusades to powerful effect. I particularly enjoyed the artists’ use of reflection in this issue – the reflection of The Bat Symbol and circled cross on a knife as it’s poised to strike or the circled cross in Batgirl’s eye as she stared at her adversary added well-placed gravity to the panels. James’ face as he stared at an oblivious Alysia in one particular panel was just downright creepy and really added to the foreshadowing. The only thing I didn’t like about the art was the cover. Something about the anatomy or positioning just seemed a little out of place. For some reason, Batgirl just looked like a contorted Radio City Music Hall Rockette. The cover isn’t anywhere near as bad in that regard as some I could name, (*cough* Catwoman #0 *cough*) but something here just seemed a bit off to me.
Overall, ‘Batgirl’ #11 is another great, fast-paced read. Simone continues to develop Barbara into a more complex, fully realized and interesting character. This issue also had some unexpected twists, hints of things to come and a cliffhanger ending that’s definitely worth checking out!
Join the conversation! Share your comments and opinions below! (But please don’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t read the issue!)
Writer: Gail Simone
Pencils: Ardian Syaf
Ink: Vincente Cifuentes