Marguerite Bennett, Fernando Pasarin
Zero Year Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Having dropped this title shortly after Death of the Family, it was only fitting that another Batman crossover event would bring me back to try again. Imagine my excitement when I realized that, much to my surprise, it was by a new (albeit temporary) creative team! Newcomer Marguerite Bennett is joined by artist Fernando Pasarin for a one-shot story from Barbara Gordon’s past, before she dons the cape and cowl and becomes the Batgirl we all know and love today. And let me tell you… This single issue does more than the 2+ years worth of stories before it combined. Bennett really gets the character. It’s going to be sad not putting this back on my pull list because, starting next issue, it’s back to the Gail Simone storyline.
The story is pretty simple, but its almost cinematic in its feel. Pasarin’s artwork is phenomenal and really makes me feel like I’m right there with Barbara and her creepy but not-quite-yet murderous little brother. We start off with a riot in the convenience store, leading us directly to the Gordon home, where the Commissioner tells Babs to lock up, prepare for the worst, and protect not only the home, but her little brother as well. Then a cop comes to the door and says they have to evacuate, so she goes into her room and takes her prized possessions and arms herself with stuff from her dad’s closet. She then meets Henry, a charming guy who immediately flusters her but makes her feel safe. Until James Jr. points out that the building they’re in is leaking. Babs shows her heroic instincts when she saves not only her brother, but several strangers as well, leading them to the roof and higher ground, being saved by Henry when she slips. When crossing from building to building, they witness in shock and horror as Henry’s neighborhood, quite literally, explodes. But we don’t feel bad for him for long, because he ends up stealing everyone’s possessions and simply saying “I’m sorry,” to all of them, explaining that he needs their cash and stuff to start a new life after he escapes the Gotham blackout and storm. Well, Babs has had enough at that point and literally jumps across the gap between the buildings, fighting and ending up letting go of her things, realizing that it’s just stuff. Henry falls, but not to his death, with everyone’s belongings. But it’s okay. Because Babs realizes that stuff can be replaced. Lives cannot. And more importantly, she’s never going to wait for a hero again.
This issue gets it. It’s an absolutely perfect read. Barbara Gordon has always been my favorite character in the DC Universe for this reason among many others: She’s believable. And even after what the Joker ends up doing to her, she’s never a victim. But this issue makes me happy because it’s awesome, but it also makes me sad because we’re not going to get it again next month. So here’s a suggestion: Why not put Gail Simone on another title, say, Birds of Prey, and let Bennett take over Batgirl for a while? She is obviously more than capable. And the Birds haven’t seemed like themselves since the reboot. So why not take care of two issues at once? Wouldn’t everyone be happy then? (Oh, and Christy Marx needs a place, too. So why not just give Black Canary her own title and put her on that?) Just a thought. But until that day, sadly, consider this book not re-added to my pull list. But don’t worry. I’m patient. I can wait.
My Rating: 5/5