STORY: Gail Simone
ART: Adrian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes
(Cringe). I actually started reading Batgirl back when it started last September. Unfortunately, Gail Simone decided – by, like, issue three – that Barbara Gordon needed a sassy roommate. Also unfortunate is the fact that these days, nobody seems to know how to write a female-based series without forcibly including some ‘alternative’ roommate or friend of some sort to give these heroes a semblance of a real life. It might just be me, but it felt like lazy storytelling. And so does Batgirl #9, the title’s only issue crossing over with “Night of the Owls”, and one that simply doesn’t make any sense.
The issue begins in Japan in 1944 at a factory where a young girl named Ayumi is building giant balloons with other children her age. Eventually, it’s revealed that these heavy-duty balloons were used to carry bombs across the Pacific Ocean to attack the mainland United States. Literally two full pages are given to Ayumi before we’re transported to Haly’s Circus in 1945 as a Court of Owls representative has come to take their next Talon. That era’s Mr. Haly offers up a girl whose face was burned off by one of the balloon bombs from Japan during the war. Then – finally – Simone takes us to Gotham present to follow Barbara as she faces off against the female Talon from 1945. Four pages of random exposition are given before the main character of the book is even seen.
Then the balloon bombs show up? Simone never takes the time to explain if the Court saved the bombs from 1944, or if they built new ones, or whatever it was. The point is, these bombs just appear out of nowhere and that’s jarring as a reader. Batgirl continues her fight with the female Talon and Batgirl falls of the ledge, hanging on for dear life. Instead of killing her, the Talon lets her live until they fight again and she wants Batgirl dead again. When Barbara finally does manage to take the Talon down, the girl uses her blood to write a message about masks and having them and such.
It’s sooooooooooooo melodramatic. Gail Simone seems to think this sappy ridiculousness is good and it’s not. I wish I had better words to use, but it’s trite and this issue doesn’t do anything to inspire a desire to read any more of Batgirl. The art was decent.