I didn’t like the previous issue of Batgirl at all. It’s a wedding issue felt way too cheesy and cliché for my tastes, not to mention Dick Greyson’s portrayal felt completely wrong. For the most part I’ve enjoyed the rest of the Batgirl run by writers Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart though. Thankfully this issue is a return to formula … for the most part.
This is kind of a one-off issue, where Batgirl stops a gang that’s been threatening homeowners and renters to leave their homes for development projects going on. They’re not the most threatening group Barbara’s ever faced by a long shot, but it makes for a decent side story. This comic has a second story however, with Spoiler being chased by assassins who want her dead. This issue would have worked better if it settled for one of these stories instead of both but there’s nothing bad about either. The Batgirl/Spoiler team-up is fun, and they work together to take down a strange but threatening villain.
This comic also touches on several sub-plots, most notably Frankie’s continued insistence to help Batgirl out on the field. This leads to a minor argument between her and Barbara. The argument itself is tightly written, but maybe it ends a bit too quick. That’s not the real problem with this issue though.
Spoiler warning (I mean for the comic’s ending, not the character Spoiler).
In the end, there’s a news report of a bunch of kids from the first gang being arrested, including one that Barbara knew by name and tried to help out. It tosses in a sense of guilt for Barbara that feels completely false, and none of the dialogue here works. Furthermore, the kid’s mother blames “the red-haired girl”, and at least where I’m from, there’s no way that would make it into a news report.
The weak ending doesn’t ruin the comic, but it does end the first story on an utterly forgettable note.
The art by Babs Tarr is good. There’s a bit of an indie feel to everyone’s appearance that helps add to the mostly optimistic mood of this series. Facial expressions do a good job at capturing emotions, even if there might be a few too many smiles in the middle of fight scenes. There’s a good amount of background detail, like books on the coffee table at Barbara’s apartment, diners with neon signs in the streets and old buildings complete with fire escape routes. The colouring by Serge Lapointe is also great. It brings Tarr’s pages to life with a variety of colours between different characters’ outfits and giving each panel a different overall shade.
Save for the weak ending, this is a fun comic and a good Batgirl story. It’s nice to see Stephanie Brown hanging around and hopefully she shows up in this series again. Those who are looking for a more lighthearted entry into the Batman Universe should give this series a chance.