Batman and Batgirl 21
Peter J. Tomasi, Cliff Richards
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Peter J. Tomasi continues his brilliant navigation through the five stages of grief with this newest issue, titled Batman and Batgirl. In this issue, he and guest artist Cliff Richards explore Bruce’s inner demons with a new and interesting take on the death of his son Damian, with the third stage: Bargaining.
The major complaint undoubtedly many fans of this series is addressed and dealt with pretty much immediately by the inner voice in the back of all Batman fans. Yes, this issue is essentially just a Batgirl story that features Batman, and yes, it’s pretty much got nothing to do with the act of bargaining, but hey, it’s a well-written Batgirl and it’s a great third part to a five part storyline. It’s amazing how acknowledging events of Batman Incorporated, Death of the Family, and even plotlines from the recent pages of Batgirl doesn’t seem at all confusing or hard to believe would all come full circle in this one issue. A lesser writer would make this read like an editor’s nightmare checklist of shameless plugs for other Batman books, but Tomasi really does write a good conflicted Barbara Gordon. And it’s always nice to see her acknowledge that no, she is not afraid of Bruce. Nor does she take his word as gospel. After all, she was never a Robin. She wasn’t forced into the cape and cowl. She chose it.
The fact that the regular series artist took such an important issue off kind of irritated me at first, but Richards’ artwork really worked for me by the end of the read. The fact that Batman and his respective stage of grieving weren’t really all that much of a focus for this issue didn’t actually kind of made this a unique part to the miniseries-within-a-series. But perhaps the biggest strength of this issue was the dialogue and knack for truly understanding how the character of Barbara Gordon really works and why she is not only different, but perhaps better than all of the other allies of the Batman. This is the first time since the reboot that she actually felt like Babs. Batgirl and Birds of Prey writers take note: You’re doing it wrong.
My Rating: 4.5/5