Warning: Mild Spoilers And Plot Discussions Ahead!
Batgirl Issue Twelve brings us the confrontation we’ve been waiting for – Batgirl versus Batwoman. The first pages bring us an action-packed, delightfully snark-filled battle between the two leading ladies of the Bat Family. However, as their combat continues, we find that things are not what they first seem. As the story goes on, we learn more of Detective McKenna’s history with Knightfall and why she decided to intervene when Batgirl became involved with Knightfall and The Disgraced. Through Detective McKenna, we also learn the backstory of The Disgraced and how they came to have their nom de guerre, which, as it turns out, is a story worth hearing. Issue Twelve also continues the slow burn of the James Gordon storyline. This month, we get a few more kernels of information about how James came to be loose in Gotham, including a connection to Knightfall. I have a feeling at some point that slow burn is going to turn into an explosion. This month’s issue culminates with an explosive confrontation with Knightfall and The Disgraced ending with another wrenching cliff-hanger.
Gail Simone continues to excel with this title. The writing is witty, humorous and engaging. I particularly enjoyed both Batgirl’s internal monologue and the dialogue during between the two characters during their fight. Batgirl’s analysis of Batwoman’s fighting style added a unique insight into both characters. I also had a genuine “laugh out loud” moment while reading one of Batgirl’s lines: “I’m not going to mention that I’m trying not to barf. I’m elegant like that.” I continue to find Batgirl’s inner journey as she comes into her own as she defines and reaffirms for herself what it means to be a hero, especially in Gotham’s often morally ambiguous environment.
The art in in Issue Twelve really added to the story in significant ways. In general, the art was clear, concise and very expressive in the action sequences. In two places, the artist mirrored Batgirl’s face with another character’s expressed subtle similarities or differences in inner psychology. In another place, the look of determination on Batgirl’s face and the close-up on her eye as she faced The Disgraced conveyed the strength of her will and reinforced the choices she had made in a fabulous way. Batwoman’s entrance in this issue also bore some similarities to her entrance in Batwoman Issue #1 (New 52) which, I thought, was a nice touch.
Overall, Batgirl Issue Twelve was action-packed and full of plot developments. The story moved along at a good pace and was a satisfying, entertaining read. The art enhanced the story in subtle, impactful ways.
We have to wait two months to continue the Knightfall story because, next month, we go back in time to see the origin of Batgirl with Issue Zero. Please join in our conversation below and tell us what you think. See you next month!
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ardian Syaf
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes