In Review: Batgirl #41

Pure superhero perfection for every audience.

The cover: The new robotic Batman has got it’s newest target in sight to eliminate and it’s Batgirl. Another excellent cover by Cameron Stewart with the star looking betrayed by the bunny-eared suit. Just having the antagonist outlined is enough to get across to readers who this is, and putting all detail into the title character makes her the focus. The coloring also makes this a stand out frontpiece, with the neon yellow and pink instantly catching one’s eye. Overall grade: A

The story: If you’ve never picked up this book before, this is the perfect opening. At the Szavpost Estate, Batgirl has sneaked into the dilapidated mansion and it seems deserted, until she hears voices. Red cloaked individuals working on laptops surround a tall cylinder, with their cloaked leader saying, “Our future, our transcendent mother electronic!…Hers is the eye! Heres is the mind! She sees all. Knows all. She leads us to our glorious destiny! Our transubstantiation from flesh to perfect code!” This speaker reveals that they will give her power — new life — to eliminate the corruption of Gotham, pulling a sheet to reveal a series of rockets that look like used weapons from a Godzilla movie. Batgirl’s heard enough and dives into the group, knocking the cultists down with feet, fists, and batarangs. That’s when a wall explodes inward and in comes a ten foot tall robot. It fires batarangs from its suit, taking out the remaining members, until only Batgirl is left standing. The two heroes face each other, with the smaller asking, “What are you?” “I’m Batman,” it says. “And I’m taking you in…” This is an unexpected turn and Batgirl is lucky to escape. This issue did a lot in only 21 pages. “Inference” works on many levels from Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher. It’s the expected superhero action comic, complete with supervillain, but it’s also a drama, with James Gordon appearing and having one heck of a conversation with his daughter, and Barbara having a situation with friend Frankie. I was extremely impressed with how Stewart and Fletcher can expertly make the drama as good as the action. If they had decided to have the entire issue stay on the father-daughter conversation, I would have felt more than satisfied. This was perfect storytelling. Overall grade: A+

The art: Beautiful work again from Babs Tarr on this book, with Joel Gomez doing background assists. The opening page seems more Stephen King than Batgirl, and that’s the perfect setting to put this heroine in. I love her face in the third panel on this page because the visual tells me exactly what she’s thinking before she says it. The cultists have a really cool design. Yes, they have the expected cloaks, but their faces are something new that put a very technical spin on their focus. The fight scenes involving Batgirl are great and the Batman battles seem right out of anime. Big bonus points for the addition of a certain vessel in the videogame! The pages with Barbara’s father and Frankie are terrific. They are a stark contrast to her life behind the cowl, as they should be, and illustrate that this woman is not mired in darkness as her inspiration is. I like this version of Gordon, which is perfectly in line with his appearances in the current run of Batman, yet is rendered in such a way as to fit perfectly into Tarr’s take on Batgirl. The supervillain looks more like her actual origin than her most recent appearances, and I love Tarr for doing this. The final page is a perfect cliffhanger, with no text needed to tell readers what’s about to go down. Excellence shows on every page. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Serge LaPointe does just as outstanding a job on the colors as do Tarr and Gomez on the art. The first panel of the book has some slick cloud work around the top of the mansion, making it look as though the structure is glowing with supernatural energy. Once in the interior of the house, there’s an unearthly blue glow that Batgirl follows, increasing the tension of what she might encounter. I love the highlights on her face of the third panel, showing the glow reflecting onto her. The roses and oranges during the battle scenes highlight the action. The daytime scenes are so alive with color: superb blue skies, gold for a setting that houses golden memories, and the oranges that link the two speakers. Life is exploding off these pages and it’s wonderful. The supervillain has energy coming off her in streaks of white that were the perfect imitation of reality. LaPointe aces this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue’s whispers, signage, opening title and credits, dialogue, sounds, Batman speak, computer sounds, yells, and grunts are courtesy of Steve Wands. I really like the videogame’s sounds and the Batman speak. I wanted the villainess to have a font that better represented her power, but the shape of the dialogue balloon takes care of that. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Pure superhero perfection for every audience. 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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