Art by: Babs Tarr and Serge Lapoint
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: June 24, 2015
Gonna set this town on fire
Just a quick disclaimer, Eric is no longer reviewing Batgirl so you can expect less snarky comments, spoilers and horror movie references. In it's place, you will be getting more constructive criticism...Oh hell, I can't make any promises except that I am going into this book with an open mind. I have been reading Batgirl since the beginning of the New 52, but I was glad that this issue was a good jumping on point for new readers and new reviewers alike. It makes my job easier (especially in this introduction) to just get on with the review without a big "previously in Batgirl" explanation. If you want that stuff, go back and read the issues (or Eric's snarky reviews) because I am moving forward starting with this month's issue. Was it good? Let's find out...
The issue opens with Batgirl in a haunted house. Well, it's not really haunted, but even she says it could be in a horror movie. Of course, the minute Eric gives me the book, Stewart and Fletcher start making their own horror movie references! The fun continues as Barbara discovers what is causing a massive power drain in the city...a crazy electricity cult?!?! We don't get a whole lot about them except they are against Batgirl and have a really out of place looking missile launcher. Barbara doesn't need to see much more and launches an attack that is cool, but quickly broken up by...Batman. Awkward! Of course, most readers already know who Mecha Batman is, but not Barbara. That's the best and worst part of the issue for me.
After Barbara escapes, she heads home and is in an ecstatic frenzy telling Frankie about this new Batman. Why doesn't she wonder what happen to the real Batman? How could she live in Gotham and not know the news of his death? Really? In a book that is so high on social media, how could she not know? That my friends, was the worst part for me. The best part is when Jim Gordon comes over to talk to his daughter.
The following scene between father and daughter was pretty powerful and was one of the best scenes in Stewart and Fletcher's run so far. Jim breaks protocol and tells Barbara that he is the new Batman and the expression on Babs face is priceless. Then, Barbara just about tells him that she is Batgirl, but hesitates and when Jim tells her that his main job is stopping the vigilantes in Gotham, she can't do it. Boy, this sets up a pretty cool story going forward.
Speaking of cool, we get to see what the cult was up to at the beginning of the issue when Livewire steps onto the scene. I can't say I'm a huge fan, but the art style of this book fits the character to a tee. After a cool flashback, she starts fighting Batgirl (though Frankie steals the scene for me) until Batman shows up again. The cliffhanger has me excited for next issue though I'm still bothered that Batgirl hasn't heard/has little concern for the death of Batman.
I liked this issue. There, I said it. I had fun reading it and seeing Barbara's reaction to her father's news was great. Having Livewire show up was a bonus, but felt less important than the Batman going after his vigilante daughter story. Did I mention it felt strange that Barbara hasn't heard or has no concern for the death of Batman? Very odd.
Babs Tarr's art falls into the acquired taste category and I'm starting to like it. Sure, the mecha Batman feels a bit small and less imposing than in the other Bat books, but Tarr makes up for that with the characters expressions throughout the book. They lend an exaggerated but welcome addition to the story.
Bits and Pieces:
While Barbara not knowing or caring about the death of Batman was a major negative to me, I liked the rest of this issue. It was fun and exciting and the Batman chasing down vigilantes (especially Batgirl) angle is so good. We also get Livewire and it looks like she will be wreaking havoc in this book for a bit. However, it all goes back to Batman versus Batgirl and the cliffhanger has me excited for next month's issue already.