The assassin known as Cormorant has come after congressional candidate Luciana Alejo and the only two people in his way are Batgirl and Jason Bard. Can Batgirl trust the disgraced former cop long enough to save the day?
Much of this issue is taken up by the confrontation between Batgirl and Cormorant. While the action is nicely drawn and Babs gets in a few decent heroic lines, the battle itself falls rather flat. The biggest problem is that Cormorant himself simply isn’t very interesting. After last issue essentially handed Barbara the entire backstory of the mysterious assassin, I had hoped this month would make up for that underwhelming plot convenience by developing Cormorant further or illuminating more of the growing conspiracy against Gotham’s politicians.
Instead, this issue felt mostly like filler and retroactively frustrated me further with how much time the book has spent building Cormorant up in the shadows, only for him to be a disposable pawn without any dimension to him. Granted, not every villain has to be three-dimensional, but it just felt like all Cormorant added up to was misspent page real estate and wasted story potential.
Now, when one considers that the storyline involving the congressional run hasn’t quite come to a close, it could be that I’ll be proven very much incorrect. Perhaps Cormorant’s involvement will prove to be more significant in the grand scheme of things. This particular installment, however, feels fairly underwhelming. At the very least, Babs does get to be a total badass as she dispatches the villain of this arc.
One thing that really does work in this storyline and is brought to the forefront in this issue is the resurgence of Barbara’s struggle in balancing her heroics and her civilian life. This is something that was a larger focus in Batgirl stories pre-Rebirth and it’s nice to see that side of Barbara again here. One of the reasons why Barbara is such a relatable character is that she’s not just some catchphrase-spouting do-gooder, nor is she a total loner. Her friendships and familial ties are important to her, almost to a degree that impedes her efficacy as a crimefighter.
Having Barbara struggle to separate her own prejudices from the job at hand, such as in her disagreements with Jason Bard, shows an intricate understanding of her character. Batgirl, maybe more than anyone else in the Batman Family, almost always wears her heart on her sleeve. It’s not a weakness; it’s just a fact of who she is.
While I wasn’t crazy about this story arc, I still believe that this team has a strong hold on what makes the title character tick. I’m hopeful that the eventual resolution of this campaign storyline will surprise me.