Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Ed Benes & Daniel Sampere
I haven't been following this series and have only read the first couple of issues and the Night of the Owls tie in issue. All the issues I've read have been very good but none have made me like the series as much as these last two issues. These issues alone make me want to go back and fill in the gaps to see what Barbara Gordon's been doing for the past year.
This issue continues from last where Barbara get's a phone call from the Joker who has here mother (Barbara Kean-Gordon) hostage and gives her instructions before three goons come in to fight her. Eventually she gets told where to find Joker and her mother, and is told to come in her Batgirl uniform.
This was a brilliant and easily the best Batgirl comic I have read from any of the series'. What Gail Simone has been doing over the issues I've read has been outstanding and she really understands all the characters, knows how to write a good plot, and knows how to fit it in with the overall crossover. I love how even though this is a stand alone series it's incorporating the overall story brilliantly so you can enjoy it whether reading just this series, or Batman along with it. the way she's brought Barbara's whole life tumbling down with the prospect of Joker knowing her secret is amazing and I liked how we see Barbara initially not giving a care about it.
Ed Benes' art throughout the last two issues, along with Daniel Sampere's this issue have been phenomenal, and truly make this comic not just a joy to read but a pleasure to just stop and admire. Although there are plenty of artists I prefer more, I can't find anything to fault about his art. I love how he draws all the characters, and especially love how you can see the resemblance between Barbara and her mother, as in some art family members don't look a like. I wasn't too sure what to make about his work on the Joker. It was brilliant but there is just something that doesn't feel quite right when I see him. It's maybe due to the lack of expression due to not having a proper face but he seemed more lively facial wise in the Batman series. Overlooking that, as it's hard to tell if the lack of expression is a good thing or a bad thing, I liked his art on the Joker very much and there were parts where you could see the malice in his eyes, and although he doesn't have any lips you could feel the grin emerging from time to time. The colours in this issue were also brilliant and both Ulises Arreola and Kyle Ritter have an excellent job on this issue.
In this issue whilst talking to Barbara over the phone Joker asks her to make a sandwich. No I'm serious, and I loved how this shows how Joker can get into your head psychologically by just asking a simply question of making a sandwich to save her mothers life. It was also nice to see that Barbara reacted the same way as most people reading this would be thinking, "is he serious?" and he was, deadly serious to be precise. The confusion, anger and discomfort on her face was brilliant during this scene and it was nice to see that even one who follows Batman, as well as someone as smart as Barbara is can still fall to Joker mind games.
I also liked how Barbara didn't care about her secret getting revealed in this issue as she thought Joker already knew anyway, she wanted to save her mother, plus all the rage from Joker shooting her and leaving her paralysed (Joker shot Barbara in Batman: The Killing Joke). Seeing the anger come back whilst remembering what Joker done to her was brilliant and the thing I've been looking most forward to in this part of the crossover. The shock on the goons faces when Barbara is beating them up was priceless and it was poetic justice what Barbara did to them.
The scene between Barbara and Alysia Yeoh that followed this fight was also brilliant and very emotional. The confusion Alysia was feeling at this point was easily noticeable, and with everything that's going on along with Barbara leaving her in the dark made me feel slightly sorry for Alysia, and I hope we get to see how this affects her.
I loved Jokers involvement in this issue and apart from the main story, and what will happen in the Red Hood and the Outlaws part in this crossover (due to Joker previously killing Jason Todd) this has been the encounter I've been most looking forward too. The sequence where Joker shot Barbara in The Killing Joke was one of the things that made it my favourite Batman stories and the sequence itself had huge consequences in the pre-New 52 universe. Joker having Barbara's mother hostage in this book was brilliant and it was hilarious seeing Joker going about in roller skates. The way Joker was written in this issue was brilliant in this issue. I liked how Joker was so unpredictable and how he was still always making jokes.
The mystery throughout this issue was also a nice addition, and the mystery about what Joker does and doesn't know through this entire crossover has been very interesting, and been one of the thing's that has made it as good as it's been. Although it appears that Joker knows Barbara's secret the issue latter shows that he might not and that this is all part of his plan.The issue reveals that someone else is also working behind the scenes and leaves the question if this person or any other person is working with or manipulating the Joker.
This was an amazing issue and one of the best Batgirl comics I have ever read. It is also the best issue in this crossover apart from the two Batman issue. I would highly recommend this issue as well as this series part in the crossover and am looking forward to seeing how it continues.