By Gail Simone, Fernando Pasarin, Jonathan Glapion & Blond w/ Alex Garner
Much like Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Green Arrow #34, Batgirl #34 is an end of an era. Whilst the grimdark run of Gail Simone’s Batgirl has been polarising, it has been in this reviewer’s opinion incredibly awesome and it’ll be sad to see Simone leave the book. The impact may be lessened slightly by the fact that that we get what looks to be a top quality replacement creative team in Simone’s place, but this run will still be missed.
Gail Simone pulls out all the stops to make this an exceptional finale to the book that she’s been writing pretty much since the start of the New 52, and includes a wealth of Batgirl’s allies over the course of the series. After giving us a tantalising taste at what a Birds of Prey book written by Simone might look like since the reboot, she expands the cast to include some old favourites that will please anyone who’s read Simone’s other New 52 books (people who love Batgirl and The Movement will really dig this issue, just saying) – and the storyline comes to a satisfying conclusion very well that also serves as a good way to establish the new direction that this series will be going in.
With a lot of set-up in #33, Batgirl #34 is all about the payoff. It’s handled excellently well and there are little things where Simone puts wrong. Fan-favourite cameos are not the only thing that readers of this issue will enjoy, with plenty of strong elements on display here in terms of writing quality. Simone shows readers how to end a relatively long running series in style and makes sure that things go out on a high.
Despite the fact that this issue is primarily about the action, Simone addresses the storyline very well, wrapping up pretty much everything aside from the elements that will probably be covered in other series – her father in jail is something that will be no doubt resolved in Batman Eternal. This is proof that having a large cast in a single issue can work well, and although this issue could have certainly used a longer pagecount, for what Simone is given, she manages to make sure that this never feels rushed.
The artwork is good as ever, and Pasarin and Glapion put out some of their best work on the series yet. Blond’s colours are very solid indeed and to make things even more awesome, the always excellent Alex Garner delivers quite possibly one of the best covers to this series yet. It’ll be equally disappointing to see him leave this book as his covers have consistently been at the highest standard, but if he’s not on Batgirl then hopefully he’ll be moving onto another DC series for the covers sooner rather than later.
The transition between Simone’s run and the upcoming book is handled well. Towards the end of the issue you get a feeling that things will be heading towards a lighter tone and it should be very interesting indeed to see where things go from here. However, it’s safe to say that Simone’s Batgirl run will most definitely be missed and it’s a series that certainly deserves returning to in the future.