Batgirl #35 // Review
A young bat-themed crimefighter is inverted in a large glass tube in front of a vulture woman, a fox man and a Shark man who are all dressed impeccably. It’s a simple visual that proves to be an engaging launching point for the latest issue of Batgirl. Writer Mairghread Scott draws her heroine a bit deeper into turmoil on a couple of different fronts in an issue drawn by Paul Pelletier with inks by Norm Rapmund and Jose Marzan Jr. A dual-layered story has Batgirl dealing with a very physical danger as her, alter ego is pulled into professional jeopardy. It’s a really satisfying pairing of plot trajectories for the young Barbara Gordon.
Batgirl knows she’s in deep. She’s being forced into an escape act that would’ve been a challenge for Houdini. Presuming that she’s able to break out of a straightjacket and get out of the tube before she’s drowned to death by the water that’s filling her container, she’s still got to deal with the shark ,the fox, the vulture and the chaos that will ensue once she gets out of the bottle. Houdini never had it this difficult. Meanwhile, the clean energy company that her, alter ego Barbara Gordon built is in danger of being pulled out of her hands without her knowledge. Even owning 51% of the company won’t save her from a legal threat that jeopardizes the whole company.
Scott’s dual-layered peril for Batgirl makes for a remarkably engaging issue. Batgirl’s escape from the tube and the ensuing chaos may not quite deliver on the potential for a genuinely engrossing superhero escape act, but the strange dynamic between herself, the fox, the shark, the vulture and everyone in attendance keeps the action gripping. There’s brisk pacing in the pairing of her emergence from physical danger with her unwitting descent into professional and personal risk. The stylish pairing of perils might make this issue one of the best that Scott’s penned in the past several months.
Pelletier, Rapmund, and Marzan Jr. are at their best this issue with raw physical action. Part of the reason for the failure of Batgirl’s escape from the tube might fall on the shoulders of the art team, but they make up for this failing with some well-framed action sequences. In particular, the action between Batgirl and the shark feels suitably heroic as the lithe heroine faces a massive, hulking shark-man in a tattered suit and tie. There’s a real impact in that fight that the issue might have done better to focus on a bit more.
Batgirl’s defiance in the face of nearly insurmountable odds has a profound impact. Her name’s on the book, so we know she’s going to be alright, but Scott’s tumbling her through the kind of hell that makes Batgirl all the more impressive. She’s going to survive this AND the third part of the story next month, but things are about to get worse for her...and just like seeing her escape that tube, it’ll be fun to see Batgirl escape all of the strife Scott has planned for her in issues to come.