Writer: Mairghread Scott
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
It’s a family reunion of sorts in the Batgirl annual issue out this week. After Batgirl notices familiar patterns with a string of murders, she suspects her brother, James, is behind it. He leads her down a clever cat-and-mouse chase, believing that she is capable of falling just as far as he did.
There are definitely some Silence of the Lambs vibes here, particularly in the scenes where Barbara speaks one-on-one with her brother in his jail cell. It’s amazing how much power and control he has over the interaction. Each sibling serves as a mirror of what the other could have so easily been.
The issue sees Barbara dealing with all kinds of broken people, including a woman who is a victim of domestic abuse who vouches for her abuser. There are a lot of horrific images in this issue, but one of the most heartbreaking is seeing Barbara simply leave after the woman tells her to get out. We, as the reader, get no indication Batgirl is going to call the cops on the abuser. Much like her brother, this is simply something she can’t fix, so she leaves.
Barbara catches the killer and agrees to keep up her end of the bargain: she will visit James every once in a while now. The two of them will never be rid of each other. It calls to mind a quote from The Dark Knight, “I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”
In a way, James is Barbara’s Joker. This issue makes it clear he intends to break her very much in the same way Joker wanted to show he could break Batman in that film. And he won’t rest until they’re both locked up in a padded cell forever.
Overall Score: 10/10
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