Batgirl Volume 4: Wanted is the follow up collected edition following the Death of the Family crossover. Gail Simone is back at the helm and the story continues following the fallout after James Gordon Jr’s ‘murder’. Things heat up as the Commissioner is determined to bring Batgirl to justice. But will he prevail? How will her newly found romance with Ricky blossom? Who will be the villains in this issue?
|Batgirl Volume 4: Wanted
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Batgirl Volume 4: Wanted Review
Batgirl #20: A Splinter Where My Head Should Be
Batgirl #20 opens with a flashback to a really disturbed but bullied young girl who looks like she may have killed a lot of people and stolen a mannequin at a children’s party where she was clearly not welcome to. Clearly, this girl is going to grow up to a villain in the Bat verse and establishes the motives. Clearly, not the most original of back stories as most if not all super villains in the Bat-verse have had childhood traumas, hell you could even say it was true of the Bat-family’s own childhoods.
Meanwhile, Barbara is still reeling from the events of Death of the Family. This makes a nice change from Barbara reeling over the events which lead to her losing her legs as visited on numerous times in Volume 1 and Volume 2.
Batgirl #20 is a full on and explosive issue with appearances from Knightfall thrown in. It never feels to fast however and is definitely a Page turner but the inclusion of Charise Carnes does seem a bit out of place. That issue to me is done and doesn’t need raking over again just for the sake of it.
The (new) Ventriloquist Shauna and Ferdie seem a much darker duo than Wesker and Scarface (the old Ventriloquist?), there are even hints about supernatural powers. She also looks like enchantress from Suicide Squad movie. The “got talent” segment where Shauna makes her grand entrance is a clever one and shows that Shauna has no fear doing the killing in public, the shot of her in her home with her dead parents with glass in their eyes was also a really grim touch, like the killer from Red Dragon (see Francis Dolarhyde)
There’s no time to rest in the issue and it’s non stop action, loved the fight scenes and loved that it’s taken a darker, batman Esque path.
Glad to see Gail Simone back properly after the wobbly and inconsistent writing in volume 3.
Batgirl #21: Enclosure
Batgirl #21 has slowed down and it’s not Batgirl now, it’s the vulnerable Barbara Gordon getting help from her closest ally,Dick (as Nightwing). Gail Simone writes them two so well as of there’s real chemistry in their words. Batgirl seems to be one of the toughest mantles to put on and keep on and she hints towards giving it all up.
It’s another brilliant issue as Barbara tracks down the creepy Shauna and Ferdie (Ferdie is the name of the dummy). It’s very dark and Legends of the Dark Knight-esque and I loved it. Great pacing and fantastic artwork in the dark and grisly house, Shauna herself appears to be a seriously intriguing character and the pair of them are ruthlesss and brutal
Ferdie himself has a lot of personality and is more Joker than Scarface, once Batgirl’s taken care of Shauna she seems to be powerless which does sort of hint the dummy had the supernatural powers, or perhaps it is a placebo that Shauna believes the dummy has all the power. Either way, bit disappointing Shauna was floored so easily.
Babs continues to struggle with family problems but she came out on top in this issue and saved a life. Simone continues to do a great job examining Barbara’s bruised psyche and her battle to overcome it all while still putting the suit on night after night.
I hope to see Shauna/Ferdie again sometime. She is KOd but didn’t see her actually get taken away though
Superb issue, back to back
Batgirl #22: A Day In The Life Of Endless Velocity
Batgirl has much more out of the suit scenes than another bat familias as she goes on a date with Ricky – a part of the Batgirl series I have to say I’m a little bit bored of now. Another thing I’ve noticed recently is that the art on Barbara looks a little off and not quite consistent with other volumes and issues. Might be just me.
Is it a bit bizarre that she hangs around with Ricky considering he is clearly troubled? Is it pity after everything that’s happened to him and Barbara happening to be connected to it all? Either way it’s nice to see some ‘civilian’ stuff with characters but the relationship with Ricky, to me, is a bit forced.
Of course there’s trouble on the date (predictable) which is swiftly dealt with in classic Batgirl style and they end up having loads of fun and the civilian storyline continues with her dad. It’s a bit of a slowdown of pace which suits well considering everything that’s happened.
It’s an issue clearly for reading as part of a collected edition or consecutively as a lot of this issue will be lost on anyone who isn’t up to speed. That said, the change of pace is welcome- it can’t be full on every issue!
James Gordon Sr. takes her to shooting range; I gather that he thinks James Gordon Jr’s murderer might go after her, little he knows she is the “murdered” it’s quite tense to read and this aspect definitely accelerates in the coming issues.
Barbara announces again that Batgirl is no more – but will she go through with it?
In a brief rooftop scene Gordon scolds and wallops Batman for Batgirl’s deeds, will we see Batman scold Batgirl? So far there’s been no interaction at all. Of course Batman is himself dealing with a loss at the moment but sooner or later it should happen. It is very strange and possibly an oversight that Batman has not been in touch with Batgirl once directly in all four volumes so far.
The pace has slowed down completely and there was no appearance with Barbara in the suit, the ending though was tense as Gordon is furious and wants to go full steam ahead to get Batgirl despite Batman’s history with him. A great issue if not a bit lacking in overall quality compared to the others from the Wanted collected edition.
Batman: The Dark Knight #23.1: A Rising Star of Red
Judging by the cover Shauna and Ferdie could be back! And they are. Big time. How did they escape? Does the dummy fancy Shauna? This is so dark and creepy. She’s killed again and seems to be luring people to a theatre in the darkest issue in Batgirl New 52… and it’s not even a Batgirl issue!
There’s more Shauna backstory for you on how she may or may not have killed a young girl by making her fall in front of a car and another glimpse into her supernatural powers. She’s clearly troubled and her origins are somewhat predictable but other than Joker she is Batgirl’s darkest supervillain encounter so far in New 52.
More backstory for Shauna if you’re into backstory – she kills her brother with her powers and goes on to name her doll after him… Ferdie. Can she get any weirder?
What ensues in this issue is one of the most grim and uncomfortable reading you’ll ever likely experience in Batgirl. The jokes are sexually suggestive, inappropriate and at times tasteless. Personally, I found it to be an issue that was more like an episode of Hannibal. It was brave, dark and somewhat out of place so far in Batgirl. Did I think it was good? Yes, but I don’t think it will be for everyone. An unmissable experience for anyone into the dark side of the bat family.
Note: Batgirl does not feature in this issue whatsoever
Batgirl #23: Wanted Part One – Manhunt
Shake off that odd feeling now that A Rising Star of Red is over! The heat is well and truly on for Batgirl/Barbara Gordon now as James Gordon Sr. goes to see Charisse Carnes (Knightfall for those who don’t remember) again for help and surveillance tapes. It’s a frosty encounter and a reminder that despite everything with Shauna “Wanted” is about Batgirl being marked.
A shopping trip goes wrong and uncharacteristically; Barbara goes feral and threatens some guys with a smashed plate, in public. Gail’s writing in how Batgirl is on the edge with everything that’s been going on. Saying that, has Babs not been on edge at any point in New 52? How will it all spill over? This on top of the hunt for her makes an exciting and tense build up
It all boils down to a massive confrontation at the 68 gang headquarters. Ricky, Barbara, Commissioner and even Knightfall and the Disgraced are involved and it’s a short, epic and tragic showdown. Barbara decides to not put on the suit and goes in black, maybe she really is giving it all up.
All I can say is, you could see all of this coming but it won’t make you any less sad nevertheless. A brilliant chapter full of emotion with quite grim, grey and dirty artwork to bring it to life.
Batgirl #24: Wanted Part Two – Dragnet
The ending of Batgirl #23 was dramatic to say the least and we resume right where we left off in Wanted: Part Two. Barbara is suddenly strong, not the weak and nervous character she was in Volume 1-3 and decides that this is not how she wants everything to end; with her capture at the hands of her own father.
It all comes out that Knightfall is still running things in the background and the tragic coming together of Barbara Gordon, the 68 gang and the GCPD was her doing. Barbara gets a boost, a purpose before she officially hangs up her cowl. There’s a lot of aftermathing going on in this issue which is to analyse what’s happened rather than moving on to the next. I did’t find Knightfall to be all that interesting to be honest so I’m not sure how I feel about her still lingering in the story.
The events have also hit James Gordon Sr. hard, Gail’s portrays both Gordon’s well in her run and it’s refreshing to see how two people from both sides deal with the same tragic incidents. Mirror makes an appearance as well, another so-so supervillain along with Bomebreaker, Grotesque, Bleak Michael and Gretel aka “The Disgraced”.
The issue ends, finally, with Barbara Gordon finally putting on the Batgirl suit ‘one last time’ to help save her father from The Disgraced in what could be an explosive episode.
It’s an ok issue, certainly not the best in the series or in Volume 4. Raking over what’s happened with little action, plus I am really not a big fan of The Disgraced at all, they just seem so bland.
Batgirl #26: Wanted Part Three – Ambush
Great art! Straight out of the box! Batgirl just dives right in there on her bike and straight away starts kicking some Disgraced ass. Finally! Hallelujah! etc.
Ambush is my favourite issue in Wanted and one of my favourite Batgirl issues ever. The ambush inside Gordon’s home is epic as the Disgraced get humbled, well and truly, by the father and daughter combination. The art work is darker, sticky and full of excellent fish scenes. Plot wise, the confrontation once the dust has settled between Batgirl and the Commissioner is another one that hits you right in the feels. They’ve both been rocked by James Jrs death but Batgirl gets Gordon to finally get some clrit over the incident.
They’re relationship isn’t quite amicable but it’s allowed to continue, right at the end Batgirl sees some hope and that there’s still some work for her to be done. In one of the worst twists ever, James Jr is apparently still alive.
Batgirl #25: Homestead
Although technically this is Batgirl #25 and comes after Batgirl #26 in the collected edition this is the last issue in Volume 4: Wanted. Homestead is a Zero Year tie in which isn’t a part of “Wanted” so it makes sense it’s put in the end.
For anyone confused, Zero Year was an event that happened in Gotham six years prior to the events in Volume 1-3 and most of 4.
It’s a relatively short issue that can be summarised as follows = There’s a storm, people need to go from A to B and then C, along the way Barbara Gordon repeatedly reminds herself she needs to protect the homestead.Found this issue a bit boring and disappointed that it’s how Volume 4 ended. She was brave 6 years ago and she is brave now, they could have tried to make her slightly different all those years ago.
Batgirl Volume 4: Wanted Collected Edition is a decent book and one of the better collected issues in Batgirl’s New 52 run. Gail Simone didn’t feature as much in Volume 3 and it’s great she was able to come back and carry on her good work on the series. It’s somewhat up and down at times, the Dark Knight story in the middle can be a bit dark and out of place with the other issues but in general this is a return to form. Crisp and modern artwork bring everything back to life and some of the action scenes are spectacular.
Shauna and Ferdie’s introduction is definitely the highlight as well as Barbara Gordon coming out of her shell a lot more as a much stronger and confident hero.
It’s not to be missed for any Batgirl fan as the tense relationship between Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Commissioner is very well written.
Score: 4.1/5[visualizer id=”921″]
Batgirl Volume 4: Wanted Gallery
Last update on 2024-02-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API