Gail Simone ends her run on Batgirl with this Futures End issue, and in typical Gail Simone style she puts our heroine through the wringer.
The issue starts 2 years in the future and Barbara Gordon is in the middle of her wedding celebrations, unfortunately her deranged brother decides to crash the party and puts a bit of a dampener on the day. We then skip forward a further 3 years bringing the issue in line with the other Futures End books, and Batgirl is now known as the Black Beast who works in the shadows leading a team of Batgirls. The Batgirl team is made up of Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Tiffany Fox who is only 12 years old and looks to be more of a hindrance to the team than a help. In the missing 3 years since her wedding Barbara has infiltrated and removed the crime lords of Gotham, and spent time learning at the hand (quite literally) of Bane before returning back to Gotham. There is plenty of action in the book as we see the Batgirl team take down a group of gun runners, and witness the inevitable showdown between Bane and Black Beast also known as Bete Noire (French must be in vogue 5 years from now).
Writer Gail Simone has put together some very interesting concepts in this book, the Darker more focused Barbara Gordon who has clearly been effected by the events of her wedding and the League of Batgirls is simply brilliant. I also like the idea she has taken out most of Gotham's crime lords, something Batman's failed to do on a permanent basis during his time in Gotham I wasn’t total sold on Barbara’s new costume a Batgirl Bane crossover combo, but it does give the artist a chance to show off her pumped up physique think Arnie with a little less testosterone.
I loved the league of Batgirls and it was great to see Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain back in costumes again, something the so called new 52 is sadly lacking at present. What I’m not so sure about is the inclusion of Tiffany Fox as a Batgirl, even for a comic book it’s stretching it to have a 12 year old on the team. Yes I know Damien Wayne was only 10 but he was a trained assassin from birth, he also ended up getting killed so not a good argument for anyone wanting to go down that route
The art by Javier Garron’s art is excellent with strong character designs and action panels that flowed seamlessly, the lenticular cover for this is OK but like most of the covers for the Futures End tie-ins they are just a sales gimmick, I know because they hooked me.
There were also a few little Easter eggs splashed around throughout the story, its hinted that Commissioner Gordon is no longer around and Dick Grayson is also mentioned in the now tense rather than the past one. Given that in present continuity he is officially dead it’s interesting that he is mentioned that way, we may never get to know the back story of any of these tip bits but it made me as a reader want to know more.
Like all of the Futures End books I have read so far if you treat it as an Elseword or Multiverse story you will enjoy it, if you think that this is how the DC universe will be in 5 years time then you are heading for disappointment.
On a Final Note
The book is a fitting end to Gail’s run and you can tell she had fun putting together this 5 years later tale, personally I would prefer her to remain with the book as for me she has made Batgirl one of the must read monthly comics.