The “Night of the Owls” storyline falls over “Batgirl” #9 and brings a Talon with it. Gail Simone opens the story with the secret origin of the Talon that comes calling for Batgirl, but that origin takes a sharp left turn, crosses Haly’s Circus and finds its way to Gotham City.
Ardian Syaf’s and Vicente Cifuentes’ art is similar in style to “Nightwing” artist Eddy Barrows, but brings a deeper measure of cartooniness in the way the characters move through the panels. Some of that style comes in the form of the extremely exaggerated anatomy and movements of all of the characters in this book, including Commissioner Gordon. The embellishment is acceptable and expected to a point, but when everyone in a comic book is exceptionally nimble, it becomes distracting. Thankfully the bulk of the enhanced anatomy occurs during the fight between Batgirl and the Talon, where it fits and properly boosts the comic book nature of the fighting.
Simone does a nice job of bringing all of the critical information from Scott Snyder’s main story in “Batman” into this adventure without horribly bogging this chapter down. My gripe with that, however, is that it makes Batgirl seem less informed or knowledgeable than how I’m accustomed to thinking of her. Additionally, the threat to Batgirl never really hits home in this issue. Part of that might be the lack of build-up leading to the fight with the Talon as the introduction to Batgirl’s Talon is as sudden as a page turn from a flashback scene. The perceived lower threat level could also stem from how easily the Talon “lets” Batgirl escape. There is greater concern for Commissioner Gordon and his mindset as he unwittingly plays right into the Court of the Owls’ clutches. Gotham City itself is under siege from the Court of Owls, but the Talons clearly aren’t all to be feared equally.
All the same, Simone joins the crossover, defines the threat in terms relevant to Batgirl and even gives a little more definition to the impact “Night of the Owls” is having on Commissioner Gordon. One need not stray from this title in order to understand the danger Batgirl faces and to enjoy the story Gail Simone and company deliver.