Comic Name: Batgirl (Volume 3)/Batman (Volume 2)/Young Romance
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Gail Simone/Ray Fawkes/Scott Snyder
Artist: Daniel Sampere/Ed Benes/Admira Wijaya/Greg Capullo/Juliu Gopez/Vincente Cifuentes/Jonathan Glapion/Mark Irwin/Marc Deering/Rob Hunter/Juan Albarran
# of Issues: 8
Release Date: 2013
Reprints Batgirl (3) #14-19, Annual #1, Batman (2) #17, and Young Romance #1 (January 2013-June 2013). Batgirl’s worst nightmare has returned. The Joker is back and it appears that he could know Barbara’s identity. With her whole family in danger, Batgirl learns that the Joker might have an ally that could even be deadlier.
Written by Gail Simone, Ray Fawkes, and Scott Snyder, Batgirl Volume 3: Death of the Family follows Batgirl Volume 2: Knightfall Descends. The collection also contains the short story contained in Young Romance #1 (April 2013). The multi-issue storyline was also collected in The Joker: The Death of the Family.
Batgirl was another one of the fun relaunch titles of DC Comics’ New 52 line-up. I’m not always on Gail Simone’s boat, but she did a good job reinventing Barbara after years of being Oracle (which did upset some who felt she was a positive role model for people living with a handicap). This storyline was decent, but also had problems.
Despite being a Batman villain, the Joker is really Batgirl’s boogie-man. He’s the one who put her in a wheelchair in the highly debated Batman: The Killing Joke. Barbara can walk again in this series but is forced to confront her fear. It was a confrontation that needed to happen since Batgirl returned to walking…but it is a bit garbled due to the overall plot of Death of the Family.
The Batgirl also ties into Scott Snyder’s pre-New 52 Batman story Batman: The Black Mirror by bringing back James Gordon, Jr. This further complicates the plot because James’ motivation and actions in tricking the Joker into abducting his mother to threaten Barbara are a bit unclear. He had been seeing Barbara’s roommate Alysia who also had a surprise confession for Barbara. James’ actions lead to the second half of the collection which does set-up volume 3.
Batgirl 3: Death of the Family has some weaknesses but overall is a fun, strong continuation to a series that was one of the better New 52 relaunches. Barbara always was one of my favorite character (in or out of the chair) and it is nice to see her back in the cowl. Batgirl 3: Death of the Family is followed by Batgirl 4: Wanted.