by Gail Simone, Fernando Pasarin, Jonathan Glapion
Scott Snyder may have penned a story arc entitled, “Death of the Family,” but there is certainly a significant decaying of family going on with the Gordon’s in Gail Simone’s Batgirl. Following the death of James Gordon Jr. at the hands of Batgirl, last issue found Barbara facing off against her father in a serious misunderstanding. No longer donning the Batgirl costume, she was attempting to allow herself time to herself, only realizing that walking away is not so easy. It is especially challenging with the number of crosshairs on her back right now.
Issue twenty-three ended right amidst a serious climax and readers are thrown right back into the situation. Barbara has no time to dwell on the tragedy that just occurred as she is moments away from being unmasked and arrested. With seemingly no escape, her instincts kick in and she finds a way to overtake the GCPD and make her escape. Fernando Pasarin sketches a fantastic panel depicting Barbara standing in an almost-pose as she is surrounded by men with guns drawn. It is incredibly cinematic and the sequence rests here only momentarily before exploding once more.
Readers begin to see the bigger story unfolding within Gotham. Though Jim Gordon seemed to have some inclination that Knightfall was involved with events that left street thugs with pricey weaponry, Barbara’s discovery clues in the audience to the twisted truth. In addition to these plot advancements, the issue also contains some strong moments in both art and writing that develop the characters even further. A sequence of panels depicting a time elapse of some of the characters sleeping captures this in a very subtle but effective way. Pasarin also draws his characters more honestly in their facial expressions. Several times individuals in the book wear an expression of either despair or sadness. Often times these moments are rendered too pretty. Here, characters feel more realistic in how they appear in these moments.
Simone does a great job in the issue with both the concentration on character as well as the structure of the issue with regard to plot. There is a lot of tragedy underneath much of the events transpiring in this arc. Placing characters in these situations that fall into a “wrong place, wrong time” situation heightens the weight of the fallout. Gail Simone is also able to garner similar emotional responses from the reader as her characters are experiencing. It all amounts to another very well rounded chapter in the ongoing series. And just like last time, readers will be left wishing there were more pages to turn.