Batgirl is in a bit of a standstill right now as we are in the middle of a transition point from Hope Larson to Mairghread Scott runs on this series. While we wait for Scott to take over the series we have a couple filler issues to tied us over. For Batgirl #24 we are getting Shawn Aldridge stepping in to tell a story that sees Batgirl clash with Two-Face. Given that Two-Face does not have as deep a history with Batgirl as Nightwing share with the villain I’m intrigued to see what happens in Aldridge’s story. Let’s find that out now with Batgirl #24.
Writer: Shawn Aldridge
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colorist: John Rauch
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: As the Speed Demonz are trying to sell the Easy-A drugs to some students Batgirl steps in to stop them. She takes out two of the Speed Demonz members while the other two escape on their motorcycles.
Batgirl chases them on her bike and she is able to use some tech to stop the Speed Demonz’s bikes before they can get very far. Batgirl then gets text from an old friend, Melissa, to meet her the next morning.
The next morning, Barbara Gordon meets Melissa at a coffee shop. Melissa reveals that one of their old classmates from high school, Jacob Cesaro, has been coming into the hospital she volunteers at beat up several times recently. Barbara promises to look into the situation with Jacob.
After that Barbara and Melissa spend some time catching up on old times.
Later that night, while tracking Jacob down Batgirl remembers that Jacob’s dad was a GCPD police officer who unfortunately lost his life on the job one night.
Batgirl finds Jacob and follows him entering a mysterious location that is being guarded. Batgirl takes out the guards outside and inside the building.
She then confronts Jacob, who is hacking Gotham’s central servers, and tells him that he does not need to do what he is doing right now. Jacob tells Batgirl to leave immediately.
Before Batgirl can leave Two-Face shows up, revealing Jacob is working for him. As Two-Face talks about his plan to shut down Gotham City’s infrastructure Jacob knocks Batgirl out from behind with a laptop. Jacob then takes the laptop and surprisingly knocks Two-Face out.
When Batgirl comes to she finds herself and Two-Face tied to chairs at gunpoint by Jacob. Jacob reveals that Two-Face and his gang killed his dad. Two-Face, not scared of Jacob, says that Jacob will join his dad when the bombs he planted go off. Batgirl is shocked to hear this, especially as Jacob actually wants the bombs to go off for the people in Gotham to feel the pain he did when his dad died.
Right as Jacob is about to kill Two-Face Batgirl frees herself and stops Jacob at the last second.
Batgirl knocks Two-Face out. She then tells Jacob that destroying the city and killing people isn’t the answer for the anger and sense of loss he feels.
Batgirl gives Jacob a hug to calm him down. As they hug Jacob presses a button to start the bombs.
Batgirl knocks Jacob away and quickly starts working on a way to stop the bombs. Jacob tries to stop her but Batgirl knocks him out with a kick to the face. Batgirl then finishes disarming all the bombs.
A little later Commissioner Gordon tells Batgirl that he will try to make sure they don’t lose Jacob like they lost his dad. Gordon then compliments Batgirl on pulling off the impossible in disarming the bombs.
Batgirl thanks him. Gordon wonders what she is thanking him for. Batgirl says it is for being alive and disappears before Gordon can respond. End of issue.
The Good: Batgirl #24 is exactly the type of issue that builds a strong library for an ongoing series. Shawn Aldridge showed a good understanding of who Barbara Gordon is in and out of her Batgirl costume. That understanding translated to a one-shot issue that adds to the world that has been developed around Batgirl within Gotham City.
The best part of Batgirl #24 was the pacing of the story. Aldridge showed that he knew what he wanted the ending to be with Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon and crafter a story to make that have a strong emotional hook when it happened. Having an ending in mind gave a greater sense of importance into how Batgirl related with her former classmate, Jacob Cesaro. That tie was especially important to how this story involving Jacob further fleshed out Batgirl’s background that isn’t explored as much.
Having a character that Batgirl can draw many parallels with as Jacob’s dad worked in the GCPD along with her own dad, Commissioner Gordon, made it easy to see the emotional ties she had to this investigation. It especially helped to explain why Batgirl tried multiple times to reason with Jacob to stop what he is doing rather than knocking him out. This showed the big heart that Batgirl has, which in turn made Jacob going through with his plan an action that forced Batgirl to finally act physically.
And as new characters stand Jacob was given just enough time to develop as a person you understand. Aldridge built a character that had enough of a reason to go after both Two-Face, who is responsible for his father’s death, and to the city that forgot what his father did for the city as a member of the GCPD. While Jacob went about releasing his anger in all the wrong ways, the depth given to him at least makes you understand his actions.
Also by having the twist of Jacob being the main antagonist of Batgirl #24 it gave Aldridge the opportunity to position Two-Face in a secondary villain role. That was a fitting role for Two-Face to have as it does not make him come off as a villain that is overused. Instead his appearance in Batgirl #24 just adds to why he is such a hated villain within the DC Universe. He has caused so much death in the city that he has caused people like Jacob to do things that is not in their nature. And given that this story ties into the GCPD it does give us a reason for Two-Face to once again appear in this series as Batgirl does have close ties to them with her father.
Aldridge also did a good job in the short scene between Barbara Gordon and her high school friend Melissa to add to our heroes backstory. Given that the majority of Barbara’s modern adventures as Batgirl are more based on her life in Burnside it was good to explore something connected to her past. It shows us how Barbara has a strong connection to the city as she has been in Gotham City since her high school days. And while the meeting with Melissa does set-up the story with Jacob it was good that it wasn’t left at that. Seeing a little bit of Barbara and Melissa reminiscing about high school added a bit of light hearted storytelling Batgirl #24 needed.
Adding to the story’s quality was the artwork Scott Godlewski provided Batgirl #24. The artwork throughout the issue made the story look even better. Godlewski was especially at home when drawing the action scenes. While their wasn’t a lot of that Godlewski used the few chances he did have to show how swift and efficiently Batgirl lands blows during a fight.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batgirl #24 is added a great standalone story that strengthens the overall library of this volume of Batgirl. Shawn Aldridge stepped in big to deliver a story that looked to be about Batgirl clashing with Two-Face and instead delivered a twist that made this issue even better. The twist made Batgirl’s latest adventure resonate emotionally as it tied closely to her past. Even if you haven’t picked up an issue of Batgirl before this is a great starting point as you get everything you need to know in one tightly written comic.