In Review: Batgirl #38

This is the most real and modern of all of DC's hero books, and it is so enjoyable.

The covers: A pair to track down this month. The Main cover is by Cameron Stewart and it shows Barbara Gordon on the subway, not happy with what everyone is looking at on their cellphones–Batgirl! Nice expression on her face to show readers that her new fame is not what she was looking for, and the coloring is great as she and the phones stand out. Excellent cover. The Flash 75th Anniversary Variant is by Aaron Lopresti after Carmine Infantio and Murphy Anderson. Batgirl is being whisked off by the Flash before Batman and Robin can get to her. Perfect layout and excellent coloring make this look like it’s from the early 1970s. Looks great! Overall grades: Both A

The story: This is a great story as Barbara’s relationship with Officer Liam Powell moves forward and she learns responsibility in “Likeable” by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher. A montage of how she’s helping people and appearing on Internet, taking selfies with thankful citizens, opens the issue and then quickly goes into Batgirl getting read the riot act by Dinah Lance for acting like a celebrity. Barbara counters that for once a lot of people like her and she’s going to enjoy it. They two part with Dinah moving out. Later, Barbara is on a date with Liam. She reveals that one of her friends has brought a little drama into her life, but she’s happy to be with him. The two almost share a kiss, if it weren’t for the paparazzi yelling at Jordan Barberi. The spoiled brat is the known son of The Dissembler, a now dead bank robber. Jordan lives off the money and is in a reality show. The two leave and have a disquieting conversation on the subway about Batgirl. Still, the two share a kiss. Home, Barbara learns something new about ex-roomie Dinah. The story takes a turn when Barbara decides that she’s going to show Liam how good Batgirl is with her taking down Jordan. Things spiral out of control in spectacular fashion with the ending giving Barbara, and readers, something to think about. The final three panels of the issue tease something creepy coming from her phone. An excellent story. Overall grade: A+

The art: Beautiful work from Babs Tarr who’s working from Stewart’s breakdowns. The opening splash page is a sensational ten panel conglomeration of Batgirl’s exploits saving people and taking pictures with them. This could be a poster or print easily. I was really impressed with Tarr’s subway page, putting detail into every passenger on board. Excellent work! The fifth panel on Page 8 is nice comedic moment, with the last panel on Page 9 having a great silent reaction to Nadimah’s comments. I also liked the fourth panel on Page 12, with Batgirl’s lip being fantastic. There’s a four page chase scene that’s great. The small panels created a movie technique of cutting back and forth between shots to increase the speed and the tension. After all she’s been through, the disappointment in Barbara on the last two pages is palpable. This book looks great. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Maris Wicks does an equally spectacular job on this book. The first page is stunning in primary colors, the second page the complete opposite as reality sets in from a friend in tans, browns, and blacks. The date has soft colors, with the kiss making the backgrounds go pink. At work, the colors are bright for the daylight, and the interiors of Qadir’s apartment pale green to have Batgirl’s suit stand out. The club is fantastic, colored in harsh oranges, and the chase brilliantly dark, with light coming from the vehicles’ headlights and the sound effects. Wicks is knocking this out of the park. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Computer fonts, dialogue, Internet postings, story title and credits, a yell, a bar’s name, sounds, a phone voice, and a “To Be Continued…” come from Jared K. Fletcher. This book continues to have the most opportunities for a letterer to show one’s skills and Fletcher certainly does. The number of computer fonts used in this book are amazing and they are beautiful. Fletcher is doing sensational work. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is the most real and modern of all of DC’s hero books, and it is so enjoyable. This is the book that publishers have been looking for to be read by teenage girls. Too old for My Little Pony? Try Batgirl! Good for all ages! Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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