Finally back to my own collection…although, admittedly, this is a recent purchase and not one of those myriad books languishing in the literary limbo of my own devising. Still, this collection and the other two that I recently purchased are stories that I have been waiting to continue for quite a while now. I simply can’t wait to read these.
It’s been since January of this year that I paid a visit to Gotham City to see what’s new with two of my favorite members of the Order Chiroptera. I’ll be talking more about my visit with the Lady Kane soon enough, but this is about the Knightfall Descending upon the lovely Barbara Gordon.
Writer Gail Simone continues to spin quite a yarn for Gordon as she re-acclimates herself with her role as Batgirl. There’s a nice bit of back story in the beginning, a bit of “top of the world for a moment or two” as we see her fighting alongside Batman and Robin, followed by a decision to leave the darkness of fighting the criminal world to live a normal life…only to realize that, as the first issue of this collection points out on its last page, “Sometimes, the darkness finds you.”
That darkness is, of course, what Gordon continues to struggle with as she tries once more to regain the full prowess of her role as Batgirl. There is other darkness as well throughout this novel, both within the fortress of Gordon’s personal life as well as throughout the expanses of her home turf. Quite a bit, actually. Gotham’s sinister underside spills into the lives of its heroes, painting every corner with blood and menace, revenge and desperation all the shades of the grimmest spectrum.
Overall, the stories within this novel were interesting enough to keep me reading. I also believe that they are putting into place some elements that will set the stage for even more interesting storytelling to come with Batgirl’s upcoming third collection, Death of the Family.
[Loba Tangent: I have already pre-ordered this collection, which apparently ties in with several other Gotham-related graphic novels that all share the same title, and am counting down the days until its October 29 release. The cover art alone makes me want to get my hands on this one!]
Speaking of art, Ardian Syaf is still doing the bulk of the penciling for Batgirl, and is still doing an admirable job. I’m not really all that fond of the cover of this particular collection (done by artist Stanley Lau). I feel like that cover is all about one thing: “Hey, look, it’s Batgirl’s crotch!” However, Syaf’s still treating Batgirl as if she’s more than crotch shots, butt shots, and boobs. I wish they drew Batwoman a little more like Syaf draws Batgirl.
Speaking of Batwoman (which I like to do quite often, thank you), she makes a crossover appearance toward the end of this collection! And answers that most important question: Who would win in a fight between Batwoman and Batgirl? (Guess you’ll just have to read the novel to learn the answer.) Even though I still think that Batwoman artist J.H. Williams III is the stronger artist, I really liked Syaf’s treatment of Batwoman. He made her a little sportier looking as well, while still giving her the rather…generous proportions that Williams bestows upon her in her own comics. Syaf might be a good choice to take over Batwoman’s world as well, now that…
…but that’s a conversation for another post.
Final Verdict: I liked this collection. I found some of the revelations to be interesting and titillating enough (especially the ones involving Gordon’s family members). I do feel that this was a bit of a “bridge” collection…stories that are not necessarily the greatest, but that are setting us up for something that might transcend greatness in the telling. For that reason alone, I’m glad I picked back up with Barbara Gordon and her Batgirl journeys.