In Review: Batgirl #48

Super heroics for readers of any age. A fun story with striking visuals. Recommended.

The cover: Batgirl and Black Canary have teamed up to do some damage against some baddies. Who those villains are is unknown from this cover image, but the girls look great in this illustration from Babs Tarr. Batgirl is leaping over the screaming singer who’s letting loose with one of the trademark sonic screams. This is a perfect cover with outstanding colors that make it stand out against all other frontpieces on the shelves. Super heroes should always look this good on covers! Another outstanding work from Tarr. Overall grade: A+

The story: Barbara and Luke are enjoying a romantic dinner atop the building she just signed a lease on. Making the moment monumental is that each is dressed in their heroic persona, she as Batgirl and he as Batwing. The two are making goo-goo eyes at each other until Frankie interrupts with a call: there’s a robbery at Super Arcadium. The pair arrive to find a two techno-savy criminals using “hard-light holography” to create computer forms that can become solid. Naturally, the heroes make short work of them. Unfortunately, the conclusion of the battle has a startling realization for Barbara, with her having to go see Frankie to see what’s wrong with her. Something serious seems to be occurring, but that plot line is momentarily left because Laurel is back and she’s got issues with someone she encounters at Barbara’s place. Writers Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart continue to keep this series going strong. There’s plenty of drama with Barbara and her friends, the inclusion of Laurel puts some good tension between her and the gang, and the action with the heroes is top notch. The villain that the pair encounter is fantastic, who’s got way too much information on the title character, and their scenes together are spooky cool. The conclusion of the fight is excellent and the cliffhanger fantastic. This story is the perfect balance of drama, laughs, scares, and heroics. What hasn’t this issue got? Overall grade: A+

The art: Babs Tarr is back illustrating this series, with Rob Haynes doing breakdowns on Pages 14 – 20. I’m a huge fan of Tarr’s work and I was glad to see her back on the book. The scenes at Super Arcadium are cool and fun, with one character riding a dinosaur and the other in a super suit. I love the reactions that Tarr gives her characters, with them emoting so much the reader can tell what they’re feeling before they can say what they’re going to say. I especially like Barbara when she’s holding her head in frustration or her reaction to Laurel getting recognized on the street. It’s impossible for the reader to not mirror Barbara’s reaction in the first panel on Page 11 — it’s perfection! The villain of the issue looks as though it was conjured from the mind of Ted McKeever — it’s disturbing, simply designed, but has a a quality that draws the reader in to look closer at the freakshow that it is. The action sequence at the end of the book is terrific, with both characters doing what they do best, though one has a surprising problem when the battle begins. The settings for this book also look really good, with the final location having every element one would expect from such a locale, save those George Jetson devices that become very important on the last page. The art on this book looks great! Overall grade: A+

The colors: Two artists share coloring credits on this book: Serge LaPointe on 1 – 10 and Lee Loughridge on 11 – 20. Both do a phenomenal job. The colors at the Super Arcadium give this book a fantastic futuristic feel, with the pinks and blues being my favorites. The light work being done at Frankie’s while the pair are looking at a monitor brings a sense of reality to the situation. The rusty rose used for the final setting makes it very ominous and gives an age to the facility. The villain’s costume provided a nice contrast of colors to the scene, with his ebony being perfect for a baddie, and his crimson looking just monstrous. My favorite panel of the book would be on Page 18 when the Canary lets loose with a yell. Just perfect. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Steve Wands continues to get to do the most of any letterer at DC. He’s responsible for creating dialogue, a phone transmission, the story’s title and credits, sounds, editorial notes, signage, whispers, yells, and the Canary’s cry. The design of each font makes the story so much more believable, with the sounds, especially that of the Canary’s cry, being aces. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: Super heroics for readers of any age. A fun story with striking visuals. Recommended. 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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