Batman & Batgirl #21 Review

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Here is the bargaining stage!…… and it’s a little underwhelming if I’m honest. The art is a awesome in this issue but even so I do miss Patrick Gleason here, I am a strong believer in the philosophy that comics are not complete without great artwork and when Pat is missing from an issue there is always a part of me that seems a bit distracted by the change during my read.

The “Five Stages of Grief” story line seemed like a cool idea, ready to explore the various emotions Bruce Wayne would go through after his son’s untimely death, but if i’m honest: I am seeing nothing but rage month after month and quite frankly this is getting a bit tiresome. I was always against DC’s decision to kill off Damian and I still hold that today, see while Batman Inc may handle the death in a more progressive way the other titles (with the exception of Snyder’s Batman) have handled the death rather poorly. This title handled it really well with issue #18 but after that it seems to have really dropped the ball. I feel Tomasi trying his best to give us a worthwhile story but without the conclusion of Batman Incorporated out he seems to be dancing around possible scenarios and really not able to focus on building up a story that matches what we saw in “Born to Kill”, “War of the Robins” or the incredible “Death of The family” and Annual issues. I don’t want to come across as whiny because a favorite character is lost, no. I was willing to give this a shot but the build up so far has been lost for me. No mention of Carrie Kelly at all and with Batgirl literally taking control of the entire issue I feel as though I’m reading Gail Simone’s Batgirl which is not a bad thing per se but if I wanted that I would’ve picked up this month’s Batgirl.

PLOT:
image_2The issue begins with Barbara on patrol, it seems she is contemplating telling Bruce of her recent troubles. Batgirl wants to force herself to talk about Damian to Bruce. After a brief run in on a thug beat down session he berates her for taking off her Bat Symbol from her chest, an act that he assumes was done due to the events of Death of The Family but is actually due to Barbara’s more recent tragic events in her own life (killing her brother in Batgirl). She proceeds to think to herself on the recent happenings outside of her father’s window whom has been hunting down Batgirl for the murder of James Gordon jr, who as we all know is a psychopath. After recanting her thoughts aloud she heads back to patrol in attempt to find Batman. She finds him dealing with a hostage situation where he bargains his own life in exchange for the hostages that standard thugs held. Batgirl helps dispose of the thugs and follows Batman back to the cave where she confronts him about the recent events in his life, she offers to be the next Robin for Batman. Batman lashes out announcing that he does not need saving, his son did and he let him die. Batman demands Batgirl leave and so she does. Batman is left seeing the broken glass of the case that held Jason Todd’s Robin costume. Next issue is Depression…..

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OVERVIEW

This issue has quite a few things missing: Pat Gleason’s amazing art, continuation/progression of any sort on the Carrie Kelley and Batman characters and that magic that previous issues had. After issue 18 I have not been able to enjoy this book nearly as much as before, yes probably because Damian is gone but also because that fact alone robs us of what could have been a great year for this book which seemed to have just been picking up more steam after the incredible Death of The Family issues. Tomasi’s potentially great story arc is hindered by a few things not the least of which is resolution on Morrison’s part on Batman Incorporated, the latest issue (11) of that book felt so badly timed for a one off that personally I did not bother with a purchase of it. This book was among my favorites in the New52 but now it has not only dropped from my pull list after this issue but it also seems DC has also changed its release date to the third week of every month. You see I was intrigued by what may come here first but after reading this issue I have no hope that I will see anything different here next month, it continues to be angry Batman and the angry Bat family. I don’t blame Tomasi here but rather DC for insisting that the effects of Death of The Family linger on this long when Damian’s death so obviously overshadow those events. Batman does and should feel anger and pain but I feel Snyder handled it best in Batman 19-20 and this here seems like the all too familiar post Jason Todd issues. I understand Morrison’s vision but with his book delaying us a conclusion, DC pushing the Batman titles back to treading all too familiar ground and no build up on to any story here it’s starting to feel like Damian’s death has been one of the worst ideas in recent comic history. I hope next months issue changes my mind on things but honestly at this point I’m not holding my breath here, hate to be harsh but it’s how I feel at the moment.

Sums it all up in a nutshell
Sums it all up in a nutshell

FINAL GRADE: 6/10

– Ivan

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2 thoughts on “Batman & Batgirl #21 Review”

  1. This sort of sums up a lot of what I’ve been thinking, too. I added Batman and Robin because I found Damien a really fun and interesting character; what’s not cool about a hyper-competent kid with the instincts of a supervillain but a burning desire to win the respect of a superhero? Then he almost instantly died, whoops, and now I’m waiting to see how things turn out, but it really does feel like the book is spinning its wheels right now. I’m a huge fan of Batgirl, but since I’m already reading her book several pages of this issue were just summary of things that I already knew. A major problem with this story is that Batman wouldn’t be going through grief in the way someone in our world would, because in our world, the loss would be permanent, but in the DC universe, ways exist to bring Damien back (as Batman points out in the issue with Frankenstein). Sure, it wouldn’t necessarily be easy, but Batman has near-unlimited resources and is incredibly determined. There’s just no way he would ever let this go; even if he eventually “moves on” he’ll still be working on the “Damien Project”.

    1. My fear is that if they revive him he will be a dramatically different character aged up perhaps and probably not himself again. This is something that i believe is truly a tragedy. Morrison’s reasons for killing him from what i gather were to leave Batman as he found him, he states that no son could ever succeed Batman because he will never die but i say if the guy is ageless than why does it matter? it’s all about progressing this character forward, these are comics of course no one expects to see their end. Damian rapidly grew in popularity once he donned the Robin role and i believe that he deserved to live on because people had taken a liking towards him, no matter what the character’s intended fate was he had obviously become more than that. Now, having killed off Damian it seems the entire Morrison run will leave us with a retread of the post Jason Todd days. This leaves us with a regressed Batman rather than a progressed one, Morrison’s Batman won’t continue and other writers will definitely continue writing the sad and depressed Batman for some time.

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