Batgirl #23 (DC)

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Rating: 3.5/5 – A nice start to a new storyline for Batgirl

After the presumed death of Barbara Gordon’s brother, she and her father Commissioner Gordon are trying to put that death behind them and move forward.  The problem is, both of them feel that Batgirl is responsible, so both are having a hard time coping.  Issue twenty-three of Batgirl opens with Barbara trying to do just that…cope.  It’s a lighthearted but telling opening that writer Gail Simone uses to slow down the pace of previous issues and storylines, which included the recently wrapped up Death of the Family crossover.  That opening scene also captures Barbara’s frame of mind and shows the stress she’s under with everything that’s happened as of late.

After that opening, Barbara’s current love interest Ricky is threatened by the gang he used to run with.  It’s from this moment on that the pace of the story picks up and you see how all the plot points coincide with one another.  Commissioner Gordon is looking for Ricky for information leading to Batgirl’s capture.  Barbara gets a call from Ricky saying that he has to fix one last thing with the above mentioned gang.  Which then leads Barbara to get into costume to try and save him.  It’s some solid writing with excellent pacing that eventually leads to all characters being brought together for the second half of the book.

Although the writing is solid, it’s tough to care for Barbara’s boyfriend.  Throughout the series he hasn’t been the most likable of characters so the emotional tension that you should feel is lessened because of this.  Also, Jim Gordon just doesn’t come across as the intelligent and calm character that we’re used to.  Although he too is at a breaking point, his behaviors and motivations come off as a bit forced.

It’s great to see Fernando Pasarin handling the art for this issue.  His previous work was on the Green Lantern Corps and here he’s just as strong.  He’s able to handle multiple characters on page, and make each character, most being out of costume, look different and unique.  The only downside is that Batgirl is not wearing the traditional costume as she feels as though she’s not worthy enough to wear the Bat-symbol with all that’s happened previously.  Having Pasarin on the art chores gives this title a combination of very talented art and writing.  Let’s hope they’re able to bring Batgirl to new heights.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – shawn@comicspectrum.com
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