In Review: Batgirl #37

There's no camp or dark Batman-like despair, but fun heroics as a young hero rights wrongs. It makes me feel good to read.

The covers: Three covers for you to find if you’re good enough. The Main cover is by Cameron Stewart and it shows the title character looking as if she’s lost a fight with a Bedazzler. This image actually occurs in this issue and is a major plot point. How so? You’ll have to purchase this to find out! Great illustration and beautiful coloring, especially off the rhinestone shines. The Variant by Bengal has Batgirl leaping down into an alley. It’s a beautiful shot with the linework being really thin and intricate. This one is a keeper if you can find it! The one I had to purchase was another Variant by Darwyn Cooke showing Batgirl zipping down the street as she’s followed by several squad cars, with her father in one of them! Excellent image that showcases the hero and shows the glee she feels in action. This is what I think of when I imagine Batgirl. Overall grades: Main A-, Variant Bengal A, and Variant Cooke A+

The story: The beginning of this issue tells readers so much more than they’re expecting. A pink sports car with four young women is speeding down the streets. They’re wearing masks, flashing their jewelry at one another, while the driver is drinking a bottle of champagne. One of the girls is Batgirl, whose mask, gloves, shoes, and chest logo are covered in diamonds. All is going well with their disruptive behavior, until one grabs the bottle and turns it into a Molotov cocktail to throw at an elderly couple. Something hits the hood and the car dies, leaving the girls wondering what’s happened. That’s when the real Batgirl swings down and snatches the fake. Throwing the imposter to the ground, she says she can’t let the girl put a dent in her rep, which causes the fake to growl, “You’re ruining it!” An explosion, from a Molotov, allows the double to run off, leaving Barbara to wonder what’s going on. “Double Exposure” by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher is a really fun story, plunging Miss Gordon into the world of art. It’s very clever, with a lot of action and great, subtle commentary on artists. The final page shows her in command of her image and it’s awesome. Overall grade: A+ 

The art: Babs Tarr is the artist working from Stewart’s breakdowns. The visuals are incredible. There is no other DC comic on the shelf that looks like this and it’s a breath of fresh air. Watching the gang of girls as they make their way down the street is great example of characters in a confined space, the car, but full of life and personality. When Batgirl takes out the fake it looks terrific! She’s not going to stand for any imitators and it’s done in ten panels, yet nothing is crowded. The art exhibit is completely over the top and it’s very easy to see why Barbara is not a happy camper. The anger she’s feeling on Page 8 is palpable, and the closing shot of her on her phone is excellent. The confrontation with the villain in the middle of the book is jaw dropping, with me mirroring Batgirl’s reaction at the top of 14. The reveal on 16 reminded me of David Bowie’s glam rock days and Lady Gaga’s outrageousness. The crowd’s reactions are perfection. This entire book is perfection. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Excellent work is also done by Maris Wicks on the colors. The opening splash page is a dizzying amount of color that perfectly summarizes the girls on their nightmarish voyage of excess. The shine coming off of the car is beautiful. Everything is sparkling and loud to emphasize what they’re doing, until Batgirl arrives and moves the scene into a purple colored alley. This is a great color to use for darkness, as opposed to black, which would overpower the characters’ clothing. The art show employs a great double imagery of color making it seem as if the photographs are in 3D. I absolutely loved the red used for the background on Page 14–it makes the moment more violent. The sparkles on the villain’s outfit in the final conflict had to have taken forever. My hat’s off to you, Maris Wicks. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, cellphone music font, opening title and credits, sounds, messaging, a phone invite, and a transmission come courtesy of Jared K. Fletcher. I can think of no other book where characters use their phones so often, and Fletcher has a different font for each app that they use. That’s an incredibly fine detail to make and I’m glad he does so. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This book just makes me feel good. It’s contemporary, but has Batgirl as I remember her acting when I was young. There’s no camp or dark Batman-like despair, but fun heroics as a young hero rights wrongs. It makes me feel good to read. Highest possible recommendation. 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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