Next month, a brand new team takes over Batgirl and plans on bringing a more upbeat and fun take on the character. That’s a good direction after an entire run on the dark and rather depressing side.
This is the final issue that Gail Simone gets to write before handing off the reigns; does she handle her last romp with the character well?
Batgirl: Futures End #1 (DC Comics)
Disaster strikes on the day of Barbara Gordon’s wedding when her very own brother forces her husband off the rooftop (because no one can stop him for some reason).
After that Barbara (and thus Batgirl) disappear from Gotham. However, Gotham is not without its protectors as something called the League of Batgirls and their leader, Bete Noire, are now on the scene.
Oh by the way, that’s Cassandra Cain there making the growly face. You may now shut up about her not showing up in the New 52.
So, how the final issue of Gail Simone’s run on Batgirl? Not bad, but not the best Futures End title either. Storywise there were a lot of interesting ideas that I did enjoy and would have potential if they were ever expanded on. For instance, the entire League of Batgirls is a pretty cool idea and would be a lot of fun to explore or the entirety of Bete Noir’s backstory in working to bring down some of Gotham’s biggest gangs from the inside. Execution-wise, it leaves a bit to be desired though with dull narration, a lack of excitement, and a weak climax. This is an issue probably would have benefited from a couple of extra pages to really dive into some of these ideas it had to offer.
The character-work can be hit or miss. Barbara’s characterization and the path she chose isn’t bad and it works for the story here; it’s just the motivation that puts her on this path is incredibly weak and cliched. James Gordon Jr.’s character is a mess still, even in the few pages he has here, just not being anywhere near as menacing or interesting as he was in Suicide Squad or Black Mirror. I’m not sure what to think of Bane’s character and portrayal here honestly, but the buildup to the fight against him is rather weak and anti-climactic. As for the Batgirls — they are all fine and enjoyable to watch (can we get a one-shot focusing just on them?) and it’s nice to see these characters in these roles.
Geeze man, what happened to you? You used to be cool, Junior! Now look at you!
The writing here is fine, but nothing too special. The pacing is fine, though it feels rather rushed in the climax for the final battle. The narration is rather dull and the dialogue is forgettable for the most part, except in the scene with the Batgirls fighting the crooks. The book tries to go from some more emotional and heartwarming scenes between the characters, but it’s not very strong since we didn’t spend enough time with them to truly get attached (though the thought counts at least). There are some head-scratching moments in the story that did stand out to me; like Bete Noire referring to one of the Batgirls as the quiet one even though they talk about the same amount as one another or the iffy time scale when events and flashbacks in the story are happening; ( it’d be nice to know, because otherwise, Barbara getting all muscular without the use of Venom seems a bit too quick). Overall, there’s some good and bad here.
The artwork is by Javier Garron and he does a reasonable job. The characters do look good and well-drawn (despite some of the designs that will certainly raise some eyebrows), the action is decent when its there and flows pretty well, the layouts are well put together, and there are some interesting looking shots in the book. The coloring isn’t bad either, though there is a hiccup with the skin color tone for Bete Noire where she appears to be much darker in the beginning and not later on. Still looks good overall, though.
Also, there’s Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. Again, you can may now stop complaining about not seeing her as Batgirl.
Is It Good?
Batgirl: Futures End #1 is an alright issue. There are some good ideas and decent writing here underneath some lackluster execution and a rather rushed story. I think a couple of more pages here could have fixed this and I wouldn’t mind seeing a one-shot surrounding the ideas. Regardless, this is the end of the line for Simone’s time with the book. Next month ought to be interesting…