Artists: Ed Benes & Daniel Sampere
I have really started to love this series, and am happy I picked it up during the Death of the Family crossover. I hope that this series will stay as good as it's been during this crossover, as I've really enjoyed it, so much that I've decided to continue getting the series.
This issue sees Batgirl, and Joker's wedding take place but it doesn't quite to Joker's plans, especially once James Gordon Jr. gets involved.
This was a great issue, but a bit of a disappointing ending to the Batgirl part of the Death of the Family crossover. Don't get me wrong it's still a terrific issue, and Gail Simone has once again done an excellent job, but I felt that it was a little rushed. Although this issue wasn't as good as the previous two the series itself is still the second best entry in the Death of the Family crossover, coming behind the main part in Batman, which was always going to be the case, and the crossover wouldn't be right otherwise. Although most of this issue happens in one massive sequence I did like how Simone handled it, and although it felt a bit rushed, I liked how she introduced certain characters, or a change in their personalities at the right time, especially the introduction of James Gordon Jr. into the issue.
Like issue 14 this issue had both Ed Benes, and Daniel Sampere doing the artwork, with Benes doing the first 10 pages, and Samprere doing the last 10 pages. I still much prefer Sampere's art, as although both are great, his is a lot smoother, and looks a nicer. They both do an excellent job of drawing the characters, and although I prefer Sampere's art, I still like Benes' rough style. I think that this rough style suits Joker better than Sampere's smooth style, but they both draw him excellently, and much better than some of the other artist on the other series in the Death of the Family crossover. Although as I've said in the past I don't like two artists working on the same issue, or even story, I did however not mind it as much in this issue, as each artist's tone's suited the section of the issue they respectfully drew, as Benes draws the emotion and drama perfectly, whilst Sampere makes the action sequences look phenomenal.
I really liked how this issue started, and how it showed Barbara in a wheelchair having a therapy section, which deals with a recurring dream of her killing the Joker. I think this was a brilliant way to start the issue, as it makes it a bit more easier for newer readers to join on, without totally confusing them. I also loved the sequence itself, as the history between Batgirl, and Joker, and especially her getting shot by him in Batman: The Killing Joke is the main reason I was looking forward to this part of the Death of the Family crossover. I also loved that the sequence itself wasn't too graphic, as it may have been too much for people who have been reading the series so far, but at the same time loved that it was obvious that Barbara really wanted to kill Joker, and to be honest you can't blame her.
The thing that made this issue a bit slow was that Batgirl was going along with Joker's plan for longer than necessary, and although I liked most of the way the transition between her playing along, and attacking Joker was set-up, I still felt that it took up too much of the issue, leaving little room for the rest of the story. I did however like how we saw the sinister side of Joker during this, and that although his plan seemed silly that he's actually thought everything through, and for a change was serious.
The thing I liked most about this issue was James Gordon Jr. Having not read all the issues in the series I don't know exactly how big a role he's played in the issues prior to the Death of the Family crossover, but I have really enjoyed his involvement during the crossover, and especially in this issue. I always thought that James might have had a bigger plan than was shown during this story, but it turns out that he was only manipulating certain situations when it benefited him, and that there was no bigger plan (or at least none that was apparent). I did however like him in this issue, as he was someone that could talk the talk with Joker, and wasn't intimidated of him. I also liked that he actually manipulated Joker, and although Joker could have stopped him easily, it was nice to see. It also set up the fight between Batgirl, and Joker, and his goons perfectly.
The fight between Batgirl and Joker was brilliant, and although most of the fight focused on Batgirl taking down Joker's goons it was still very exciting, and allowed Batgirl to take out her frustrations. I also liked that Joker acted like his usual self during this fight, and that he didn't care about the consequences, just wanting to put his plan back on course. It was also nice that James didn't get involved in this fight, as he's always been a manipulator, and not a fighter.
The ending was both good and bad. I won't spoil the ending, but will explain why I think it was both good and bad. The ending itself (like the ending of Batman and Robin #16, and what I expect the ending of the other Death of the Family series will be) sets up Batman #17, which is the finally of the Death of the Family crossover. This was nice as the ending of Batman #16 was brilliant, and looked like it would involve the rest of the Bat-Family in the finally, but at the same time it leaves this part of the crossover ending unfinished, which may not suit the few people who have been reading Batgirl, but not Batman.
This was a terrific issue,and although not as good as the other issues in the Batgirl part of Death of the Family, it was still very good. Although it was really good I'd only recommend it to people who already have the rest of the Batgirl part of Death of the Family, as it's not a brilliant jumping on point. I would however recommend it to anyone considering getting the other issues, as it has been a brilliant story.