Batgirl beats up some thugs and tries not to think about how her boyfriend Ricky is suing her father. Charise Carnes, a.k.a. Knightfall, hears about the lawsuit and decides to do something about it.
The next day, Barbara is kidnapped off the street by Obscura, her old friend and college roomate. Obscura has faked her death to join an elite crime-fighting organization, and pressures Barbara to do the same. When Barbara refuses Obscura threatens that her organization can destroy her at any time before dropping her back on the street.
Ricky calls Barbara to tell her he’s dropping the lawsuit. Knightfall’s henchmen have chopped off his brothers hand and have threatened to do much more if he doesn’t back off. Seeing red, Batgirl prepares for an all-out assault on Knightfall with Black Canary and surprise pick the Huntress.
Finally, things are getting interesting. I was worried that the subplot of Barbara’s boyfriend Ricky suing Commissioner Gordon was going to get lost what with the events of BATMAN ETERNAL. But that storyline is still going, just not in the manner I expected. Gail Simone’s method of tying in Ricky’s lawsuit with Barbara’s struggle against what is possibly her arch-enemy is genius.
Knightfall’s hypocrisy in terrorizing Ricky for suing the man she tried to have killed is highlighted but not layered on too thick. It adds an extra layer of loathsomeness to the character, and makes her upcoming beatdown all the more sweet. The fact that she does so from the backseat of her chauffeured limousine on her way to the ballet while wearing mink also helps. (So much ostentatious wealth, so little panel space). Given what we know of Ricky’s impoverished background, it makes her look even more out-of-touch with reality and unsympathetic.
Quick Side Note:
Why are villains always on their way to the ballet or the opera? Why is it only the bad guys who get to enjoy high culture? Why can’t a criminal mastermind ever enjoy a night sitting on the couch, throwing back beer and watching Lost?
Back to Positives:
The introduction of the Obscura subplot seems like it could be a distraction from the Knightfall storyline. But by making Obscura’s motivations into stopping Knightfall, it actually increases the tension of the main storyline instead. Add that to the final scene of Batgirl, Black Canary and the Huntress gearing up for war, and things really feel like they’re coming to a head.
The art isn’t bad, it’s just…slightly off sometimes. Especially when it comes to surprised faces. It’s down to those subtle details that are hard to put your finger on.
The panel of Batgirl knocking at least four teeth out of a goon’s mouth with one blow also felt excessive. Granted, I would not be thinking about henchman dentistry if someone was trying to kill me, but Barbara is a trained superhero. And those goons didn’t look particularly dangerous.
Speaking of, those goons didn’t have much in the way of context. That killed the tension of the scene. Whenever a comic opens with our hero beating out a group of guys we’ve never seen or heard of before, that’s a sign they’ll be done in a few pages.
BATGIRL #32 is a thrilling start to the “DEADLINE” storyline. Great start to anyone new to the series.