Review by: director421

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Avg Rating: 4.0
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Story by Gail Simone
Art and cover by Ed Benes

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

“Death of the Family” is massive or at least feels that way with all the tie-in books. Scope is rarely a problem but it is the one flaw of this event. It’s just too much at times. That said, you don’t need to get all the books to get the main story of Batman’s battle with the Joker but as a collector it’s hard for me to pass on any tie-in issue. Of all the titles involved, however, Batgirl would be on the top of my list. Batgirl #16 continues Joker’s assault on Barbara and his twisted, bizarre plan to take her as his bride. The issue starts off with a flashback of Babs in her wheelchair in session with her psychologist still trying to cope with nightmares of the Joker’s attack that put her there. This is a nice tease to a story I feel writer Gail Simone should tell of how Barbara got out of the chair and I hope that it’s a thread Simone will continue to follow. Cut to the present and the wedding ceremony which throws some nice twists in the mix and a return of James Gordon Jr. and as with all good James Jr. stories I’m not really sure of his true motivations and if Barbara can trust him on any level. There are also some very nice touches of humor with Joker and his bridal party.

Simone continues to treat Barbara with tremendous care and respect. Batgirl’s hatred for Joker is palpable and her struggle to fight her instinct to just kill him is balanced evenly with caution to save her mother. The action on the page flows well and the addition of James Jr. to the mix takes the fight to the next level. There are some who don’t find Ed Benes art serving the story as well as it could but I’m not one of them. The split art duties are fairly smooth although I do wish Benes would complete one full issue for continuity’s sake. It does feel rushed sometimes when dual artists are on just 22 pages but Daniel Sampere does a nice job on his end here though.

Overall, there is not much to complain about with this issue. Batgirl has been one of the best of all the “Death of the Family” tie-in’s and issue #16 helps bring both this story arc and series come together as a well-rounded stand alone Bat-book. If you have ever been apprehensive about this Batgirl these tie-in’s make it well worth the investment. There has been many a complaint that Barbara is back in the New 52 as Batgirl while Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown don’t exist …yet. But I grew up with Babs as Batgirl and while she was an uplifting character in her role as Oracle I’m glad she’s back. I do think Simone has a bigger more inspiring story about Barbara’s struggle with what happened with Joker and how she recovers from such trauma and hopefully editorial will get out of the way long enough to let her tell it. This battle that she must fight this time round with Joker could only be this tense and exciting between Barbara and Joker based on their past and Simone makes sure she has the will and toughness to see it through to the end.

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 4 - Very Good

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