Death of the Family Event: Batgirl #16
Gail Simone, Ed Benes
Death of the Family Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Gail Simone needs to go. Right now. Before she ruins this book forever. We get another poorly scripted issue with good art from the team of Simone and Ed Benes, featuring a creepy looking Joker but an uncharacteristically cliché-filled and not funny one as well. This storyline could have been one issue, but instead has been drug out into a seemingly endless storyline full of no twists, no turns, no surprises, and absolutely nothing new whatsoever. And I blame that entirely on the writer and her seeming inability to relate to the title character, her main adversary, and one of my own personal favorite characters who should be easy to write, James Gordon Jr.
The story starts off with a strangely labeled “interlude one,” which is not only unnecessary and irrelevant to the rest of the story, but also misleading. You see, there isn’t an “interlude two,” or even another moment where an interlude would make sense. I’m not sure if I can completely place the blame on Simone for that one, but the editors can only do so much with a writer who was just hired and fired and rehired by a company that apparently can’t make (or stick with) the tough decisions. But that argument is neither here nor there. So back to the story and pointing out the specifics of why it almost completely falls flat yet again this month.
The rest of the issue features a bunch of unrealistic dialogue (people simply don’t talk that way, Gail!) and a fight scene where Batgirl beats a bunch of Joker’s thugs up, again, and then loses the upper hand when her brother shows up out of nowhere and betrays her for mysterious reasons, which, of course, we the readers don’t get to know just yet. But the biggest disappointment in this issue does not come from the fact that the shocking revelation of Joker showing Babs the “mystery platter” that he has been showing everyone else in other various Batman books this month, which just seems tacked on for basically no reason at all in this particular storyline. No, I was actually okay with that for the sake of continuity. And again, for those who aren’t okay with it, that’s probably just editorial making decisions and backing up the main Bat title for the sake of telling a bigger story. The main thing that made me angry with this issue was the lack of a decent confrontation between James Jr. and the Joker. Here we have two of the greatest villains, both new and old, of the DC Universe, finally facing off. And the stakes are higher than ever before. And then… Poof! Gail Simone ruins it and literally decides to have a random explosion instead of a fight or a posturing scene or even a battle of wills. I will finish this storyline, but if I am not rewarded for my years of patience with this writer, I will be dropping this book faster than Joker dropped Barbara’s step mom back in No Man’s Land.
My Rating: 2/5