Batgirl, Volume 5: Deadline Review

Overview

Batgirl, Volume 5: Deadline is Gail Simone’s finale with Batgirl in her New 52 run and the conclusion to the  entire Knightfall arc. Deadline also includes some crossover issues and a Future’s End special. It’s quite a hefty volume at 10 issues so there’s a fair bit of bang for your buck here. It’s an action packed collected edition with PLENTY of cameos from meta-humans, future Secret Six members and Birds of Prey to boot!

Batgirl, Volume 5: Deadline collects Batgirl #27-34, Batgirl Annual #2, and Batgirl: Future’s End #1.

Batgirl Deadline Key Information

Book NameBatgirl Volume 5: Deadline
Book SeriesNew 52
Edition ReviewedCollected Edition
Year Published2015
Originally Published2015
Writer(s)Gail Simone
Artist(s)Fernando Pasarin
Pages256
Issues10
Where to BuyAmazon
Sale
Batgirl Vol. 5: Deadline (The New 52)
24 Reviews
Batgirl Vol. 5: Deadline (The New 52)
  • DC Comics
  • Gail Simone
  • Publisher: DC Comics

Review

With 5 collected editions and 34 issues on her belt Gail Simone has had a lengthy run with the new Barbara Gordon. She’s been to hell and back trying to rebuild her life now that she has been cured of paralysis (Killing Joke is still canon in New 52) and has had relationships, a new room mate and a fair few new and old villains to contend with from Mirror to James Gordon Jr and of course Knightfall. Now in the conclusive volume it’s time to come full circle.

Deadline begins with an awkward few issues if you’ve not been reading Gothtopia at the same time, which I didn’t and as such felt a little bit lost with what’s going on and confused after what I read in Wanted. The first of such stories is a Vampire Hunter who’s lost his way story with Barbara and ex-Talon Strix there to investigate and clean up the mess. The writer alludes that Knightfall is involved with all of the goings on as to help with continuity but it still feels a little misplaced in the Batgirl world. It’s a fun storyline, though as it’s own that perhaps should have been bundled with the other supernatural stories. Artwork is fantastic and it really does feel like a proper Vampire issue, blood and gore included.

The Midnight Man is another supernatural storyline which sees a group of teenagers conjure a demon through a simplistic ritual before Batgirl steps in to banish the demon and save the day. There’s no explanation of where these vampires and demons are coming from but the semi self contained storylines are gripping and explosive. Batgirl has to do absolutely everything to save the teenagers which I loved. Simone has done a sterling job of making Barbara a strong willed, if flawed, superhero who really can handle herself without the need of Batman (most of the time) and being relatable at the same time.

Lastly, before the Deadline stories really start we have a Poison Ivy storyline which heavily involves a secretive Mr. Rain who claims he can cure her. At the time, Batgirl and Poison Ivy were team members before Ivy gets tempted to try the cure. This issue feels more like Birds of Prey rather than Batgirl as the point Simone’s trying to make is that Batgirl is so much better with the help of friends than she is on her own and works extremely well in a team. The artwork in this issue is very different in tone and the drawings of Poison Ivy are top notch – particularly towards the end when Poison Ivy looks to be on her last legs.

Once these issues are over, and I appreciate DC for putting them first rather than dotted in-between the Deadline arc, Gail Simone finally gets to work on her and this version of Batgirl’s farewell. Deadline is the finale to the Knightfall arc and Charise Carne’s last throw of the dice at taking over Gotham City with The Disgraced. It feels like a rushed storyline and misplaced motives from the part of Charise Carnes. She says she wants to save Gotham but never really gets into why she does, all the while she is enjoying the life of a rich heiress. She never really stuck with me as being a credible supervillain – no clear motives and a back story that’s just too easy to pick apart.

During Knightfall’s endgame we get a myriad of cameos both on the side of good and evil and it felt like a cheap shot at selling some issues and keeping people interested. It felt like there was too much going on at once to really enjoy it, and despite the stakes being so high the actual conclusion felt really flat. It was made out to be the hardest mission ever for Batgirl, Huntress and Black Canary (why didn’t Babs call Strix?) but once they were on the boat a photo was all it took. Not great.

Right at the death there’s a Future’s End issue which is brilliant, I thought. We get see all Batgirl’s past and present on a mission working together, Cassandra Cain…Stephanie Brown…they’re all here. This issue feels like a look in at what Batgirl as a character has been through and the emphasis on the dark times (Killing Joke) and how she coped since. Bane is heavily involved in this but it feels like he is a tool for the metaphorical rather than literal. To me, it was Gail Simone saying that all Batgirls have been great but there is and can only be one original – Barbara Gordon.

Sale
Batgirl Vol. 5: Deadline (The New 52)
24 Reviews
Batgirl Vol. 5: Deadline (The New 52)
  • DC Comics
  • Gail Simone
  • Publisher: DC Comics

Summary

Batgirl, Volume 5: Deadline is a decent farewell for Gail Simone with several moments of action packed storylines which really delve into the psyche of Barbara Gordon more like any other. Some of the supernatural storylines are great on their own but don’t flow too well when read consecutively – the concluding arc to Knightfall was a bit rushed to me but not exactly an awful book. Gail Simone seemed tired at this point and it was a good time to end it. I will miss her.

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