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Batgirl #31 Review

Batgirl searches for a wannabe assassin.

After multiple attacks on politician Luciana Alejo, Batgirl is volunteering at her campaign office to try and get some answers. Who is Cormorant, Alejo’s would-be assassin? Can Babs get through a day at work without knocking out the head of Alejo’s security detail, former baddie Jason Bard?

We get a better look at Batgirl’s newest enemy, the mysterious Cormorant. Well, he’s mysterious for about five pages before Babs uses DNA left behind at a crime scene to ascertain his true identity and background. While the forward momentum is appreciated in an issue that mostly feels like filler, this is actually one mystery I wouldn’t have minded being teased out a little further. It doesn’t help much that Cormorant looks and feels like a villain type we’ve seen a million times before. He may be colored in a little more in the future, but for now, he just comes across like a low-rent Bloodsport in a Midnighter mask.

DC Comics

In the meantime, there’s still the mystery of who is ordering these attacks on Gotham City’s politicians and why. The issue does a decent job of shifting some of the suspicion away from one-time villain Jason Bard. Though we’ve seen him participating in shady shenanigans in the last few issues, Bard’s willingness to stick his neck out for Batgirl and to even attempt an apology to Barbara lends credence to the idea that he might be innocent, at least to some extent. If this series is truly planning on some kind of redemption arc for Bard, then it could lead to some very interesting developments, especially when considering his and Barbara’s past together and her already-rocky relationship with her father.

Speaking of the elder Gordon, his presence was sorely missed in this month’s issue. While it’s nice to see that the book isn’t going to make the kind of arguments we’ve seen between Jim and Barbara in the last few issues a regular occurrence, I’ve really loved how Mairghread Scott has written Jim Gordon. Scott has perfectly captured the balance between hardass cop and tender father that makes Jim such a likable character, even when he’s being overbearing. I commend Scott for giving us an issue where Barbara has to think things through on her own, though I hope she makes up with her dad sooner rather than later. As much as I miss the Burnside crew, having Jim Gordon as a member of the regular supporting cast again has been great. I’d love to see more crossover between Babs’ two worlds.

While I was somewhat underwhelmed by this issue, I am still thoroughly enjoying the series and I’m interested to see where this storyline goes. My biggest gripe with the previous story arc is that it felt like everything was tied up too quickly in one issue, so hopefully this issue is a sign that this storyline will be avoiding a similar misstep.

Also, Scott continues to absolutely nail Barbara’s voice and inner monologue. Babs is definitely less fun these days, but it’s clear that it’s due to Barbara’s circumstances and not from a complete shift in personality. I really appreciate the authenticity of it all.

Batgirl #31 Review
Is it good?
Barbara's change in attitude feels earned in-story
Doesn't rely on the same kind of Jim/Barbara arguments we've seen recently
Cormorant just feels like a very generic "extreme" villain at this point
I still actually found myself missing Jim Gordon in this issue
Finding Cormorant felt a little too easy
6.5
Good
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