Batgirl and her allies make one final stand against Knightfall’s army of mercenaries, but will it be enough?
This is an unusually happy issue for Gail Simone’s run on BATGIRL. Throughout the series we’ve seen Barbara Gordon get knocked about in the most emotionally scarring ways possible again and again with little relief in sight. Anyone who complains that Supergirl is angsty has never picked up a copy of this. So it’s a pleasant surprise that we get something so optimistic to close out Simone’s run- all the better to prepare us for Fletcher and Stewart’s run next month. We actually get to see Batgirl smiling in the middle of a mission!
Batgirl’s plan for foiling Knightfall’s operation is a clever one. Fighting every cell of Charise’s operation at once so that one division won’t have time to warn another was brilliant. I love it when heroes use their brains to win a fight. And Batgirl’s hacking to get the information she wasn’t entirely unforeshadowed (although I do have some problems with it).
Batgirl’s uber-hacking skills come out of nowhere. Yes, I know Barbara has done a little hacking previously in the series, but that was mostly through her father’s files, where she’d have an advantage. Throughout Gail Simone’s run she’s been portrayed more as a fighter than an cyber-genius. She’s done nothing to suggest that she’s capable of the “impossible” hacking feat she does here. It seems to come more from Post-Crisis Oracle than it does New 52 Batgirl.
I’m puzzled at how quickly Knightfall went from wanting to execute every criminal in Gotham to tearfully admitting she needs help. All it took was one conversation from Batgirl (and having her plans destroyed, let’s be fair) to make her do a full one-eighty turn on morality. Batgirl showing Charise a photograph of her dead family in order to cinch it just multiplied the cheese by a hundred.
Just to be clear: I’m not against cheesy resolutions like this. It just feels (a) very out-of-character for Charise and (b) very out-of-character for this series, which has always snatched despair out of the jaws of optimism.
A minor point, but this really made me scratch my head: How did Batgirl get Bleez to come along on her Kinghtfall-thwarting crusade? I know Batgirl has built up a lot of contacts over the years, but have they ever met before? The closest way I can imagine Barbara getting to Bleez is through a chain of Batgirl to Batman to Guy Gardner to Bleez, and that just seems overly complicated. Why not get the entire Red Lantern Corps while she’s at it? If the connections are that tenuous, why not the entire DC universe?
BATGIRL #34 feels a little out of place in this series, but it’s a happy ending. I’ll take it.