Volume 2: Knightfall Descends
Collecting Issues #7-13 and #0 this second volume of the NEW 52 Batgirl takes on more adventures with Barbara Gordon! Seeing as these issues have already been released in singles this review will be SPOILER HEAVY!!!
I am continually awestruck at how well Gail Simone is writing Batgirl! As most of you might know who follow me on Twitter or my Facebook fanpage, I’ve been DYING to read Volume 2 of this New 52 ongoing! You might ask me, well why didn’t you pick it up in hardcover? I’ve stated my dislike of comics in hardcover many times. The basic jest is there are times where I have to spread the pages out more because of a speech bubble being in the crack of the binding. Hardcovers don’t allow you to do this very well. So I’ve impatiently waited til the trade got released. I was going nuts over this, because for two weeks in a row my comic shop didn’t get it in. That was crazy, thankfully a loyal fan of GCRN Jeremy Fein helped me out and sent it to me.
I’m still very perplexed on how DC goes about deciding where stuff falls in their comic collected editions. I was expected Batgirl #0 to be at the end of this volume, but it’s at the beginning, BEFORE issue 7. VERY Strange!
Gail Simone is writing more than just a superhero or super-heroine book here. She is writing the characters in Batgirl’s world as if it was real life! Batgirl in the New 52 is more than a superhero title, it’s a psychological suspense action packed ride! Since the beginning of the series Ms. Simone paints James Jr as a psychopath, which he is, but it seems at first no one realizes this. The way that the story is told in these issues, it’s like watching an episode of Mystery Detectives or any of the other crime related television series. Seriously James Jr is one screwed up guy, and it is interesting to see how his “plans” unfold in these stories. I really enjoy that about Simone’s writing, it’s one continuous story. That has threads through out of stuff that either has happened or might happen.
The struggles that Babs goes through in coming to terms with being a super hero again are shown off in this trade. While in the first six issues of the series, there were times when Batgirl was kickin’ ass and taking names. Here in Volume 2 it’s a very different story. SURE she still kicks ass, but you see how being Batgirl really effects Barbara Gordon, after recovering from being shot by The Joker. It’s interesting to examine Barbara Gordon as a character, there are several things that define her.
#1 Police Commissioner’s Daughter
#2 One of Batman’s longest running partners in crime fighting.
#3 Shot by The Joker, created a whole new persona for herself outside of Batgirl.
#4 And here in The New 52, the girl who got shot, recovered and moved on being Batgirl once more.
Take all that and more and Babs has had a rough go at life, plus now add in the psychopathic brother, and wow is this ongoing more than just an average superhero title. Here in issues #7-13 Babs goes up against KnightFall. This is a character that could easily be counted as Batgirl’s number one enemy. KnightFall seems to be organizing all the gangs in Gotham, and it’s them versus Batgirl! We also have in this storyline, more explanation from Babs’s mom, and dark tales dealing with James Jr.
I really enjoyed reading this one, it was most definitely a page turner, and something I didn’t put down until I finished it. Gail Simone is one of the best female comic writers that there has ever been in my opinion. The way she handles action, comedy, and serious issues within this story are all very well thought out.
Art for these issues is done by Ardian Syaf, Ed Benes, and Vincente Cifuentes. I love their takes on the characters, the backgrounds of Gotham, and just the way they structure the fight scenes in the book. There is a full page spread in issue #12 of Batgirl and Batwoman fighting. The way that this page is laid out it looks like glass shattering. I love it when artists do stuff like this, and then there are times when I can’t stand it. This time it was a picture of both. I loved it for the visual it projected, but at the same time it was slightly difficult for follow the story by the speech bubbles. This is just a very tiny nitpick on my part, and I’m sure most people won’t have this issue.
Batgirl vs Batwoman was not something I was even close to expecting when reading through this. The designs in those battles were amazing! Absolutely loved them. It even slightly piqued my interest in maybe picking up the first two volumes of Batwoman in The New 52 eventually. I throughly enjoyed all the covers for these issues, once again the Batgirl covers to me are definite works of art. I have said this before with the more recent Alex Garner covers, but even these older ones this notion also applies.
Overall BG Volume 2 was awesome! It took me where I started reading the book. Which was issue #13. This was a nice backstory for me in order to catch up. I’m not suer if I’ll be doing a written review of Volume 3’s trade. Simply because it’s the DEATH OF THE FAMILY storyline, and Steve and I already covered that. However I may do one, I’m not sure yet. Batgirl Volume 2 is a must buy for any Bat fan!