The second issue of the suddenly-mobile-once-more “Batgirl” series answers just as many questions as the first issue did, which is to say nothing of significance is revealed. Batgirl comes out swinging against her new foe, the Mirror, and has some entertaining moments, but those moments come in and around a story that is densely narrated by Batgirl herself. That doesn’t stop Gail Simone from overwriting a story that could have been much lighter and had significantly more bounce.
That is the same type of story that would have been interesting and compelling with Stephanie Brown under the hood, and it could have featured every element in this issue. Switching out Babs for Steph added one moment of uneasiness for Commissioner Gordon, but really, beyond that, nothing more was gained in this single issue. Fans who miss Steph could pretend that Stephanie is bouncing around in the cape and cowl in this issue and if you squint hard enough, the inside of the cape is purple, like Steph’s, and you could easily imagine the hair to be blond.
What perplexes me most about this issue is the fact that the Mirror has more than one chance to string Batgirl up and take her out, but inexplicably doesn’t. I cannot discern if that was intentional in Simone’s script or a fault of Ardian Syaf’s art. Simone didn’t write any mustache-twirling, “Now I have you” monologues into the Mirror’s appearance in this issue, but the character certainly didn’t seem to have much of a killer instinct. That the Mirror spent much of this issue and last referring to a “list,” and killing people on said list raised my expectations of his ruthlessness. Unfortunately, the character doesn’t live up to my expectations.
Syaf’s art is solid and in some spots very good, but the fussy, demanding details of the titular character’s costume seems to drain Syaf’s capability to render compelling “mundane” scenes, such as Detective McKenna’s scuffle with an attending doctor who simply wants to ensure the detective is not concussed. Compared to the fight scenes (which, by the way it appears as though the Mirror’s fist “phases” through a statue’s head) the quiet moments are nearly enough to induce a catnap. Or batnap.
As with the previous issue, Simone and Syaf leave us with a cliffhanger, but it’s not a nail biter. It’s a cliffhanger that doesn’t threaten Batgirl directly. Overall this is a flat issue and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I don’t recall much of it by the time the third rolls around.