BATGIRL #27 REVIEW
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Robert Gill
Review by Suzanne Nagda
I’m convinced there’s an art to writing meaningful tie-in issues for events. For some books, they can deflate the ongoing plot or slow the momentum of a regular series. Or in the case of Battle of the Atom, the event changed the entire cast and dynamic of Brian Wood’s X-Men for the worse. Luckily for Babs, her story is in the trusted hands of Gail Simone. She has a track record of writing tie-ins that contribute to the ongoing plot and character development in story arcs like Death of the Family.
This issue is a tie-in to John Layman’s Gothtopia, beginning in Detective Comics #27. Thankfully, Batgirl #27 reads well as a stand-alone book for those readers who didn’t drop $7.99 on the anniversary issue of Batman’s first appearance. Essentially, Gotham City transforms into a utopia of sorts–“America’s Safest City”– and Batgirl’s life could inspire a Norman Rockwell painting. Barbara still lives at home and has a serene domestic life with Commissioner Gordon and company. They bond over breakfast and talk about their daily routines. Their affectionate relationship serves as a striking contrast to the tension and angst of the Batgirl: Wanted story arc. And Babs still leads a double life jumping off roof tops in the sunshine and helping out the police. She even has a new suit and code name to match–Bluebelle. Because Batgirl sounds a little too dark, right? Yet this shining city doesn’t last forever. Simone builds an underlying tension, a feeling that this utopia isn’t quite “right” throughout the book. The placement of Joker’s Brand Ice Cream in the opening pages serves as an eerie reminder of the character’s traumatic past.
Artistically, Robert Gill maintains the tone established by series regular Fernando Pasarin. Gill switches seamlessly from the quieter moments with Babs at the breakfast table to action scenes as the illusion of Gothtopia begins to fade. Commisioner Gordon’s head looks oddly small in a panel or two, but that is relatively minor compared to the overall quality. And did I mention how much I adore that Alex Garner cover? Batgirl can keep that new suit as long as he keeps drawing her!
THE VERDICT: Buy it! This is a strong tie-in issue that also works as a one-shot. It’s a welcome change from recent drama and losses in Barbara’s life. Plus, there’s a key character appearance that perfectly complements the ongoing plot and opens up some interesting possibilities for future issues. Go ahead and pick it up!