Being a one-off issue inserted in the midst of the “Batgirl: Wanted!” storyline is the biggest detriment to Batgirl #25, of which there are several. It’s not enough that this issue is keeping readers from the conclusion of series-scribe Gail Simone’s thrilling Batgirl arc for another month but, serving as a loose tie-in to the current Batman “Zero Year” event, Batgirl #25 isn’t even written by Simone. Marguerite Bennett takes the helm and delivers what is a very Barbara Gordon-focused, very okay story with a see-it-coming-a-mile-away ending that, sadly, is not worth the interruption of Simone’s arc nor the inflated price tag. That extra dollar in the price is reflected in the extra pages of the book itself, but considering the lack of polish on the art and the dialogue, it’s not necessarily a good thing.
Readers not keeping up with Batman are treated to a brief explanation for this self-described “Zero Year adventure,” though the backdrop of a severe rainstorm and blackout in Gotham City is not enough to warrant a stroll in Barbara Gordon’s past. Bennett’s frequent use of monologue captures the heart and determination of our main character, but it’s laid on too thick. Barbara’s constant reiteration of her father’s words—“protect your homestead, protect your brother”—are used so frequently that they lose meaning by the time the real disaster of the issue hits (it doesn’t help that Jim Gordon’s actual words were, “protect your homestead, mind your brother”). But the loosest part of Bennett’s script is Henry, an unnecessary character who instantly becomes so important to Barbara that she trusts him wholeheartedly; we as readers are supposed to care when his hometown is shown burning to the ground even though we see through his shtick immediately.
One aspect of Batgirl that feels familiar is the art from Fernando Pasarin. While keeping Pasarin aboard makes for an easier transition from the previous issue, his supposedly younger Barbara looks remarkably similar to his current version but with a different haircut. Much of Batgirl #25 takes place during rainfall, which Pasarin has excelled at in his work in Simone’s “Batgirl: Wanted!” arc, but his facial expressions are still a disappointment brought over from those issues. Barbara looks worried or scared for the entirety of this issue, not only going against the confident hero that Bennett is trying to convey, but totally ruining a lighthearted moment early on when Barbara actually makes a Oregon Trail joke. It all amounts to a severely average Batgirl adventure.
GNN Comics Grade: FAIR (5.5/10)