Batgirl is panicking upon finding out about the Joker's return. She knew this would happen sooner or later, she just didn't expect it now when she does not feel ready to confront him. But she has made a decision: she is going to hunt him down and make him pay for what he did to her.
Alright, pay attention and take copious notes, because class is in session, and J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman are going to tell you how it's done. "Stygian Descent" is a sensorial experience unlike any other you have lived before while reading a comic book. Batwoman and Wonder Woman search for Medusa in a tartarean prison, but instead they find themselves in the tendrils of the goddess Nyx.
The interpretation of darkness in this issue is dantesque: the lack of sight is compensated with an overwhelming description of sounds, smells, and textures that are worth a thousand light bulbs; it is indeed terrifying. Batwoman's reaction to Diana is almost funny; like a roadie who is in front of the rock star for the first time, and the amazon herself has never felt so divine before. Meanwhile, contrasting the tone of the story, a Phoenix slowly rises from the ashes, and little by little her brightness intensifies. This, dear reader, is how comic books are made.
A bloody mess. That's how Batgirl is left after being stabbed in the abdomen by her new nemesis, Knightfall. Charise's role in the death of the Carnes family is revealed, but regardless of her involvement in that crime, her actions after that are what show how damaged she truly is. Meanwhile, Batgirl, running on fumes, proves she is a hero through and through; she is there to help the defenseless, despite their past sins; this belief system of hers will soon be put to the test.
Even though the clash with Knightfall is cut short, Gail Simone provides a pretty scary view of the many dangers Batgirl has surrounded herself with; the past year has been all about building a world for her to play in, but now that game is about to get deadly. Even if she makes it out unscathed from the Joker's attack on the bat-family, there are terrible menaces waiting for her on the other side. Beautiful art by Ed Benes, and a pretty cool die-cut cover; this issue's got it all.
The daughter of Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, Barbara Gordon was raised in Gotham City, knowing firsthand the dangers inherent in living there. A classic overachiever and determined student, she struck out on her own as Batgirl in an attempt to help both Batman and her father in their mission to protect the citizens of Gotham.
Quickly reined in by Batman and trained to be a more effective hero, Batgirl became a valued member of his team along with the first Robin, Dick Grayson. Tragically, Barbara's life was forever altered when the Joker shot her in her civilian identity while attacking her father. She was paralyzed from the waist down, and it seemed as if her time as Batgirl had been ended permanently.
But Barbara did not give up. Working herself to the absolute limits of her physical and mental abilities, in time she regained the ability to walk. Taking things a step further, she made the daring choice to retrain herself and return to patrolling Gotham City as Batgirl.
Her second chance at being Batgirl hasn't been wasted, as she's confronted several new foes as well as assisting against The Court of Owls' attacks on Batman. Batgirl has also been known to take on missions with her friend Black Canary and the Birds of Prey team.
On her 12th birthday, Katherine "Kate" Rebecca Kane was taken hostage and held for ransom along with her sister and their mother. The rescue operation led by Kate's father, Colonel Jacob Kane, resulted in the death of Kate's mother and sister. After her stint in the U.S. Army ended in scandal, a brief encounter with Batman inspired Kate to embark on a crime-fighting mission to clean up the streets using gear stolen from the military.
When confronted about her actions by her father, Kate agreed to let him train her, and she donned the Batman-inspired suit he had created. Kate becomes known as Batwoman and brings her own brand of justice to Gotham City.
Batwoman turned down an offer to join Batman Incorporated, preferring to stay in control of her own mission to fight evil as she sees fit. Instead, she's joined forces with the D.E.O. in an effort to take down a growing contingent of supernatural criminals slithering their way into Gotham.
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