Title: Batgirl Vol. 4: Wanted
Author: Gail Simone (writer) et al.
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel, Superhero
First Published: 2014
INFO | Goodreads
BUY | The Book Depository
Batgirl struggles to continue fighting crime after being emotionally drained by the death of her brother, James, Jr. With her relationships with Batman and her father strained, Batgirl must face one of Batman’s most ruthless villains, The Ventriloquist, alone.
I haven’t reviewed a DC comic in a while, but this volume was too good to pass up a chance to rave about it. I thought it might be hard to follow on from Death of the Family (I binged on the Batman, Batgirl and Nightwing volumes), but I was pleasantly surprised to see the introduction of a brand new villain.
The Ventriloquist is adapted from a male character of the same name in the older Batman comics, and for the New 52 series, the character has been made female, with an Alma from F.E.A.R. feel about her. She operates a dummy called Ferdie, who is a bit of a ladies man, and has the ability to move on his own without Shauna’s aid. The magic at work here isn’t explained, so I don’t know how exactly Ferdie was able to move – he frequently wanted to cheat on Shauna too, so I don’t know if this was an extension of the multiple personality disorder from which she suffers, or if he was actually a living entity. Either way, they were a creepy duo! I have read that fans of the original Ventriloquist prefer the original, but as this is my first encounter with the character, I have been nothing but impressed.
Another major theme of this volume was Barbara overcoming the guilt associated with losing her brother. She feels she is no longer worthy of being Batgirl, and refuses to wear the suit. The events of the third volume spill over into the storyline here, as her own father vows to capture Batgirl and seek revenge, building up to a very exciting final encounter between father and daughter (see front cover image)!
Barbara Gordon remains one of my favourite DC characters even without her Batgirl alter ego. This volume in particular we see her dealing with a lot of complex emotions, and also see her in love, trying to do normal teenager things with a boy she likes. It was good to see these vulnerabilities in her character, as they show what she has had to sacrifice to be Batgirl. Volume 4 is definitely the most action-packed yet, and I cannot recommend the series highly enough.
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (5/5)
Has anyone else read Batgirl – the New 52 series or earlier? What comics do you think I should try next?