batmanconfidential21picon.jpg

I literally feel that I cannot say enough good things about Batman Confidential at the moment. I picked it up for the first time 5 issues ago, with the beginning of ‘The Bat & The Cat’ storyline (because for nothing else, I love Barbara Gordon) and I honestly wonder if I’ll be able to put it down again. With this, the final issue in the 5-issue arc, I once again have trouble finding any fault with the book.

batmanconfidential21cover.jpgWritten by Fabian Nicieza, and masterfully illustrated by Kevin Maguire, Batman Confidential #21 wraps up the fantastic first meeting between Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) and Catwoman (Selina Kyle). After Batgirl stole her own father’s journal, had it stolen from her by Catwoman, both of them losing it to The Riddler, and encountering Batman along the way, readers were left with the Riddler in control of Arkham, with Batgirl locked inside, just as the Riddler opened the doors to the madhouse.

There is not enough good that can be said about Maguire’s artwork. The opening page of Batgirl – costume torn to shreds, exhausted and still very new at the Bat-squerading, is phenomenal. Add that to Nicieza’s fantastic inner-monologue, lettered on little torn pieces of a journal by Sal Cipriano, and you have a page that I really wish I could hang up somewhere (how would I go about getting that done?).

But right next door we have a two page spread of Batgirl encountering the de-masked version of Catman, the Cavalier and the Signalman. She narrowly escapes, only to encounter a beshaggled (ie, a guy with shaggy hair) Blockbuster. Dimwitted, massive, and oh-so-very-strong, she beats him with a kiss on the lips which subsequently leaves him believing the two might be married.

Next up is, without resorting to misplaced hyperbole, “one of the greatest pages I have ever seen!” Barbara has made it through the Riddler’s gauntlet so far, but now finds herself in the same area as the Joker. There are three panels – only three – of the Joker, seen through the little eye slot – which means not much in the way of Joker to be seen – and I literally got chills down my spine at the look on his face.

Batgirl then encounters the ‘Faces, both Clay and Two’ – as she soon puts them – and then the Scarecrow, down before finally reaching the security booth that the Riddler is supposedly holed up in, directing her mad dash through the madhouse (I know I’ve used that word twice, but for both times, the pun works).

However, much to her distress, as she enters the room, she finds the Riddler slumped against a fallen chair, and the Catwoman lounging back on the security desk, the Riddler’s hat perched atop her head.

Batgirl/Barbara is distraught that after everything she has gone through, in and out of Arkham, she doesn’t get the chance to clock Riddler one on the chin. Nevertheless, a begrudging respect is subsequently created between the two women of Gotham, as Catwoman hands the notebook back to Batgirl.

But in a very Lord of the Rings-esque manner, the story doesn’t stop there. Next page is Batman, posing on a chimney like there’s an AP photographer somewhere nearby, checking in on the girls. Batgirl jumps off the building, and leaves Catwoman and Batman to talk. Batman then leads Catwoman into expressing her honest opinion about Batgirl – “she’s got the chops” – before Catwoman realizes that, “she’s still here, isn’t she…?” Batman replies “And listening to everything you said,” which jumps to a great shot of Barbara smiling to herself, leaping off the building, and then to a great splash page of Batgirl – her costume torn to tattered shreds – swinging through Gotham (though I’m a bit skeptical about the cartoon over photo there).

The book is perfectly completed the next page, with Barbara returning home, returning the journal, and exclaiming “BED!” as she enters her bedroom, floating little love hearts and all.

This book, not to mention the entire 5-issue arc, gets 5 out of 5 from me. And though I’m not certain that you’d be able to get your hands on all five issues, make sure to get the trade paperback when it comes out! Definitely worth the while, time, and money!

5stars.jpg

The Author

Joshua Hill

Joshua Hill

I'm an aspiring author who just happens to also work on the web, reporting on the environmental research and science at Planetsave.com that makes sense of the climate change hype, reviewing fantasy books at FantasyBookReview, because I love fantasy books and want to tell you all about it. I also blog over at Life As A Human and at Extralife.

Previous post

Image Comics Sneak Peek of the Week

Next post

Top 300 Comics for August 2008

1 Comment

  1. September 20, 2008 at 8:36 am — Reply

    I agree, this was a well-done issue…

    Maguire’s Batgirl is first-rate, if only they didn’t have to use the Catwoman costume that makes her look like she’s wrapped in a burlap sack.

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section