Batgirl #32 – Mairghread Scott, Writer; Paul Pelletier, Penciller; Norm Rapmund, Inker; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Who Is Jason Bard?
Ray: Batgirl’s entry into the world of politics (well, since the time she was a Congresswoman) has been bumpy, as her work for the candidacy of Luciana Alejo has brought her into conflict with her policeman father and put her in the target range of the assassin Cormorant. Alejo has a target on her back thanks to her politically charged proposals like closing Blackgate, and someone with a lot of money has hired the ex-military assassin to shut her up permanently. Complicating this for Barbara as she investigates, former Police Commissioner Jason Bard is working as Alejo’s security chief and Barbara suspects he may be involved. The last few issues have had a lighter tone as Barbara tried to balance her work as a campaign volunteer with her investigations, but things take an intense twist in Batgirl #32 as Cormorant infiltrates the TV studio where Alejo has an interview scheduled, putting her whole campaign team in the line of fire.
Batgirl is forced to team up with Bard to protect Alejo, which doesn’t go smoothly for either one. As Alejo heads to her interview, the assassin – disguised as a janitor who does a pretty terrible job of keeping his hatred contained – makes his move and it ends in a tense hostage situation in the interview room. Scott’s take on Batgirl has definitely been the most mature version since Gail Simone’s run, making her seem more like a seasoned vigilante than a teen detective, and her work negotiating with Cormorant and trying to get the opening to protect her boss is impressive. But that’s all for nothing as Jason Bard does something that goes a long way towards redeeming him in the public eye – but quite the opposite for Barbara. It looks like this is going to be a long-form plotline and Bard is being set up as a pretty intriguing antagonist for Babs. There are few breakout moments in this issue, but the overall take on Batgirl remains strong.
Corrina: I think Ray has it: this is the most mature take on Barbara Gordon since Gail Simone’s run. This feels like an older, mid-20s Barbara, rather than the younger, sometimes teenager-ish Babs who dominated the Burnside-focused stories.
For me, it almost reads like classic Batgirl from the Batman Family issues of the 1970s, especially in this issue, as she tries to reason herself out of the problem, and is juggling not only an assassin but her distrust of Jason Bard as well, not to mention worrying about keeping her secret identity. (Aside: I’m not too hung up on superhero costume changes but Babs only wearing a face mask as Batgirl really makes it hard for me to suspend disbelief because someone would surely recognize her? Like her dad, especially with her on television?)
The art, especially during the final showdown, juggles Batgirl’s split focus well, as you can almost feel her worrying about saving lives, Bard, and her secret identity at the same time.
I’m beginning to wonder if Alejo put out a hit on herself. Or if Bard did it for her, to gain sympathy.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.