This issue of BATGIRL is definitely filled to the brim with drama and emotion, and I think it's a great example of the culmination of different feelings that we've seen throughout the series. How does Barbara Gordon feel about being in a wheelchair for three years after being shot by the Joker, and if given the chance, will she show him mercy or try to kill him? I think that the way Simone and artists Daniel Sempere and Vicente Cifuentes executed this issue was just fantastic. Simone really allows the artists to tell the story for her in certain panels, letting their pictures speak to the reader for her.
This was definitely one of Simone's stronger issues on this series and that might be because she spent the last fourteen issues leading up to this one dealing with Barbara Gordon's feelings about being shot and being disabled for three years and the trauma that being shot by the Joker caused her. In this issue we see a culmination of all those feelings executed in a way that really highlights Simone's writing. She really plays on the strengths of the artists in this issue and it works really well for her.
This issue is a lot of edge-of-your-seat fun, and I think it's well structured. The comic definitely ends off on a cliff-hanger and will have you looking forward to the next issue.
When Barbara arrives at the scene where her mother is held captive by the Joker, the Joker issues her a set of instructions which force her to leave that scene, head to a different location and meet him there for the wedding ceremony. I think that while it makes for an interesting scene and it forces Barbara to see her mother and make the choice of leaving her in order to ultimately save her, it is foolish. And although in that moment Barbara has the opportunity to end everything; to end the Joker, but she doesn't do it. Shooting the Joker and killing him would not mean that Joker's henchmen would shoot Barbara or her mother. With him dead, the henchmen no longer have anyone to work for.
And while I can understand that Barbara was stuck in a position where she really couldn't win (she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't), I think that the scene was sort of unnecessary. The creative team could have had Batgirl show up at the chapel and eliminate the scene in the bowling alley entirely. In fact, showing up at the chapel may have been more efficient in the end.
Although there was a sort of unnecessary chunk smack-dab in the center of this series where Barbara shows up at a bowling alley and then departs for a Church, I don't feel the scene was necessary. Additionally, I think Barbara is leaving too much to chance and trusting the Joker far too much. What she needs to remember is that the Joker is always supposed to be x-number of steps ahead, and that nothing that happens happens without his having planned it beforehand. I think the biggest mistake here is that Barbara makes some rather amateurish mistakes and doesn't feel like she's really thinking about her actions or the likelihood that the Joker will betray her and murder her mother anyway.
Having said that, I think more than many other writers Gail Simone certainly demonstrates a flair for bravado and dramatics. While there are some scenes that could have been eliminated (without hurting the story), I think that overall the scenes and moments that transpire are definitely very exciting. The scene in particular where Barbara is faced with delivering a crippling blow (literally) to the Joker, I think her decision against it is interesting. This scene was particularly well written because Simone breaks down the moment well and allows the artist to take charge of some of the more explicit narrative.
Overall this was was pretty solid issue of BATGIRL and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next. Will Barbara marry the Joker? Will she show up at the chapel to see her mother has been killed? And where does her brother, James Gordon Jr. fit in?