Saturday, July 13, 2013

Batgirl #22 - A Review

In a perfect world, Batgirl #22 would easily win every award it is possible for a single-issue comic story to win.  Bold words, I know.  Yet I cannot think of any single story that has provoked such a full gamut of emotions within me for quite some time.  Sorrow.  Joy.  Fear. Anger.  This book conveys all this as strongly as any Greek tragedy.

The issue centers upon Barbara's date with Ricky - a reformed thug she first met and saved as Batgirl after he lost his leg during a run-in with a more violent vigilante.  The relationship between Babs and Ricky is played off well and Gail Simone does a fantastic job of showing how the two feed one another's need for a companion in a short span of pages.  The introverted Babs needs someone who can get her out of shell as much as Ricky needs someone who understands his disability and can show him that it isn't the end of the world.  This story is as inspiring and life-affirming as any image of Superman flying through the sunny skies of Metropolis.

That alone would be enough to make me recommend this book, for there are precious few books even in the superhero genre these days that seem to encourage this kind of optimism, much less revel in it.  We also get a long overdue scene between Jim Gordon and Batman - both mourning the loss of their sons - that is easily one of the most emotional scenes I've ever seen in any medium.  Yet Simone gives us darkness with the light as well, with an ending that will hit you in the gut like a young Muhammad Ali.

The artwork of Fernando Pasarin and Jonathan Glapion equals Simone's script in quality.  Pasarin's figures are well-designed and proportioned, with what little action this issue contains being well-paced and well-choreographed.  Glapion's inks are always perfectly suited toward the story, with light inks utilized for well-lit night clubs and ballet studios and heavy shadows for the dark alleys and rooftops of Gotham.

To sum it up in three words?  Read This Book!

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