This issue doubles as the finale to Batgirl’s Knightfall story (continued from two months back) and a prologue to her “Death of the Family” tie-ins starting next month. Last issue, Barbara teamed up with Batwoman and a cop with a death wish to fight a sadistic vigilante known as Knightfall. The last issue ended with Batgirl being stabbed in the gut by Knightfall herself. It’s been a great story arc so far, and this is a satisfying conclusion.
Batgirl has to push herself to defeat Knightfall on her own despite her serious injuries. She also learns how twisted Knightfall’s methods really are, and her motivations. This issue is gruesome – more so than I was expecting for a T rated comic. Knightfall cuts teenagers’ legs off for mere car theft. She also leaves a murderer rotting in a cage with barely enough to survive rather than sending him to prison. There’s a fair amount of blood in this comic too, mostly from Batgirl’s stab wound.
There isn’t much of Batwoman or the crooked cop in this issue. They only show up after Batgirl knocks Knightfall down. It’s a little disappointing considering how they were fighting all of Knightfall’s thugs together, but at the same time this issue feels more focused without them. There are also only two pages dedicated to the Joker prologue, almost making the Joker variant cover pointless. The Joker teaser isn’t even the last page in the book; the last three pages tease a growing army of criminals who want Batgirl dead. Sure the end teaser is awesome, but why bother calling this a “Death of the Family” prologue when that only fills two pages?
The art in this issue is fairly good. Batgirl looks equally determined and tired during her fight with Knightfall. There’s a lot of shading and reflection work on different characters’ costumes as well. The blood spatter looks like a thick liquid as it should.
While this issue’s ending might feel a bit off for some (I won’t spoil it), this comic is a good read. Batgirl’s series has been improving with every story arc, and Batgirl’s spunky internal monologues set her apart from the other bat books.