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Batgirl #16: Wedding Nightmare

The Joker has targeted Barbara Gordon's family to bait Batgirl into marrying him. Yikes.

Batgirl #16

Ah yes, the glory of a wedding. The invites, the food, the pretty dress and, of course, the maniacal clown holding your mother hostage forcing you to marry him. Wait, this must be a Batgirl wedding. Yep, there it is, Batgirl #16 and the forced nuptials between The Joker and the girl he once paralyzed. Needless to say, emotions are running high at the ceremony. Joker’s ten henchmen, the captured priest and Batgirl all have very different ideas on how the wedding should go down.

Batgirl wants to kill Joker. She’s dreamt about it. She envisions it. To hell with the Bat Mission, this lady wants the clown DOA. Problem is, she can’t do it right now. Her host and husband to be, the clown, he has Batgirl’s mother tied to a chair with a nail bomb strapped to her. Onward the wedding goes, but the bride is not buying the groom’s woos, which is making him mad. What to do when the bride doesn’t respond? Well, if you once paralyzed your bride, the next obvious step is to whip out a chainsaw and cut her arms and legs off.

Now, Batgirl is up against it. So, with nothing to lose, she unleashes an attack against the Joker’s henchmen. It looks as though Joker may get the upper hand when BG’s psychopathic brother steps in with grenades and a master plan. See he doesn’t care about mom, but he doesn’t want Joker to kill his sister, that’s his job. With the new element involved, the scene goes ballistic until an explosion knocks out our heroine. When she awakens, Joker is there with a surprise for her, one we don’t get to find out about until Batman #17.

The recently fired and re-hired Gail Simone does a great job here. She unleashes the action but never loses the psychological battle going on within Batgirl. Besides the immediate physical threat, she’s battling the emotions of her captured mother and the appearance of her brother. Simone ties it all together and never loses a step. I actually wish this wasn’t a simple issue to get Batgirl to the grand finale of Death Of The Family, because the triangle between Joker, Brother and Batgirl is really interesting.

Ed Benes’ art is a very odd duck. In the smaller panels, the pencils are a little too basic to keep up with the pace of the book. However, the larger panels and the splash pages really pop. The back and forth begins to take you out of the story, which is never a good sign. I also don’t care much for Benes' rendition of the Joker. It lacks the menace and deformity of Greg Capullo’s original concept.

6

(4 Story, 2 Art)