Comic Review: Batgirl #5 & #6

I must admit that like many others, when I discovered that once DC’s 52 hit the stands my beloved Stephanie Brown would no longer be wearing the cape and cowl of Batgirl. But as upset as I was, I trusted the proven talent of Gail Simone to create a story that would breathe new life into the mythos of the character and remind us all why we missed Barbara Gordon in the role. With the art of Ardian Syaf, whose style fits this series like a nice pair of spandex, Simone had put out one of the best comics on the rack every month.

In this, her second story arc, a new villain emerges in Gotham named, Gretel. Gretel is a woman who has the power to control the minds of men for murderous purposes, even a man like Bruce Wayne. Gretel proves the perfect foil for Babs, because she too suffered a life threatening attack from a sadistic mad man; but unlike Barbara who recovered with the help of her father and crime fighting allies, Gretel was alone and used her new strength to bring harm. As if things were not tough enough for Barbara, she also has to contend with the sudden return of her estranged mother, who is trying much too hard to reinstate herself in the life of her daughter.

With all these struggles that Barbara has to contend with, issue #6 comes with a nice silver lining as we see Batgirl finally gain the trust and acceptance from Batman. In the few panels we see Batgirl and Batman interact with each other and fight side by side the relationship they have comes through clearly.  This arc continues the theme of struggling with the dual identity which Simone and Syaf started with this series. We get the excitement every issue of Batgirl fighting brilliantly created villains, but we also get the story of the character we see ourselves in, the story of the young woman trying to make it on her own, who unlike the other Bat characters does not have the Wayne money and resources to make her life easier. This is hands down one of the best comics DC is publishing right now and with the next issue promising that Barbara will finally have to confront her inner demons from the fateful night of The Killing Joke I can only see this book getting better and better.