Comic Reviews: Batgirl and Secret Service!
Gail Simone returns to Batgirl this month, and just in time, as Babara Gordon finally has her showdown with her homicidal younger brother, James Jr. Resolving a plot line that has been going on since before the New 52 relaunch, issue 19 puts a thrilling cap on this storyline while also teasing some interesting things to come. The issue doesn’t exactly play out like the gatefold cover suggests, but I was very surprised by some of the events that happen in the book .
While Ray Fawkes did a fine job filling in on the previous two issues, it’s clear that Simone’s voice was definitely needed for this issue. No writer has gotten into the head of Barbara Gordon like Simone has, and I sincerely hope she stays on the book for a very long time. Babs is both strong but also vulnerable, a fact highlighted here in her confrontation with her brother. There’s also some great interaction between Barbara and her roommate, which breaks some new ground in the comics industry.
Daniel Sampere is our artist this month, and while I do miss the work of Ardian Syaf, Sampere does an excellent job. His art matches up with Simone’s characterization, and he draws a very creepy James, Jr., a character that is interesting because he doesn’t have superpowers. There were times where I mistook Barbara for her mother though, but this is something that has become routine for many artists on the book.
Batgirl #19 marks the end (for now) of the James, Jr. story, and I’ll really miss the character.The fact that he’s the black sheep of the Gordon family is enough of a hook to make him intriguing, and he’s actually become one of my favorite new additions to the Bat rogues gallery. The cliffhanger at the end of the this issue is excellent, and looks to provide us with a very interesting new status quo for the foreseeable future. Batgirl is still a criminally underrated book in the DC stable, and more people need to check it out.
Oh hey Secret Service, almost forgot about you! In what’s quickly becoming the unfortunate norm with the Millarworld books, the final issue of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ Secret Service has finally hit shelves, months after it was supposed to. However, to make it up to us we get a double sized finale that satisfyingly ends the story of Gary, the newest James Bond-esque member of the British Secret Service.
Millar’s clearly having a ball this issue playing with the common Bond tropes, from the villain hideout being a hollowed out Mt. Everest to the laser pen knife, and because of this, the book breezes by at a fast pace. Usually I might be upset with a book moving this quickly, but I found it to be so much fun that I didn’t mind at all. Dave Gibbons’ art is phenomenal, and he’s one of the few artists from the 80s’ who’s art hasn’t taken a complete nosedive when he entered the “modern” age of comics. Secret Service may have taken it’s sweet time getting here, but at least the wait was well worth it. Now I just have to sit and wait for the sequel.
Or the movie.