Comic Name: Batgirl (Volume 3)/Batman: The Dark Knight
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Gail Simone/Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Fernando Pasarin/Daniel Sampere Derlis Santacruz/Carlos Rodriguez
# of Issues: 8
Release Date: 2014
Reprints Batgirl (3) #20-26 and Batman: The Dark Knight #23.1 (July 2013-February 2014). James Gordon is dead and Batgirl is responsible. Now, Jim Gordon has vowed to hunt down Batgirl for killing his son…without knowing that Batgirl is actually his daughter Barbara. As Barbara struggles with her identity, she faces a new threat from a woman calling herself the Ventriloquist and a rising threat from Knightfall who is arming rival gangs for her own nefarious plans. Plus, Barbara shows how she survived during Gotham’s “Zero Year”.
Written by Gail Simone with Marguerite Bennett writing Batgirl (3) #25 (January 2014), Batgirl Volume 4: Wanted follows Batgirl Volume 3: Death of the Family. The collection rearranges the original order of publication which had the “Year Zero” issue splitting up the “Wanted” storyline. The collection also contains the Batman: The Dark Knight #23.1 (November 2013) which was part of DC’s Villains’ Month issues and featured the new Ventriloquist.
I like Batgirl. I always thought her character was interesting in and out of the wheelchair and I’ve enjoyed the relaunch of the comic. That being said, I don’t think Batgirl is a great comic, but it is an enjoyable comic. The book is a very classic take on comics and the story has a bit of a timeless aspect to it in that I could see this story being written anywhere from the late ’70s today with little change. This makes Batgirl almost a dirty pleasure.
I don’t think every comic has to be revolutionary. I find two of the biggest writers in comics (both Gail Simone and Mark Waid) to be solid writers but not much of what I read from them really wows me. This is how I feel about Batgirl. This storyline is kind of fun, a bit drawn out, and mellow dramatic (which helps lend itself to the idea that this story could have been published in multiple decades).
I do have some problems with how DC puts out this comic and it highlights some of comics problems in general. There is no flow to this series. The collection help rectifies it, but in the middle of the dramatic “Wanted” storyline, a “Year Zero” issue was released that screwed up the comic’s building tension. Add to that many of DC’s comics had a hiatus during this period for the Villains’ Month and you get a really choppy production release.
Regardless how you feel about the writing or the production, I do have to say that Batgirl has some of the best mainstream covers. I really love Garner’s Batgirl comes and they give the series a real pull with their fantastic art. They are fun and draw you in…the simple image of Batgirl ripping her mask off in front of her father on Batgirl (3) #26 makes you want to flip through the issue if nothing else.
Batgirl is a light fun read. It is enjoyable but not great. I like that the character is continuing to get a title in a time when it is tough for comics and I like that it is a strong and generally well rounded female lead. Batgirl is her own character and not just a Batman clone. Batgirl 4: Wanted is followed by Batgirl 5: Deadline.