Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Batgirl #42 Review

Written by: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher
Art by: Babs Tarr and Serge LaPointe
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: July 28, 2015

Gonna Set this Town on Fire

I was really impressed with last month's Batgirl.  It was my first Batgirl issue I've reviewed on our site (I took it over from Eric after the Convergence Break) and while I haven't agreed with everything Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr have done with the character, I was fully in after last month.  I loved Jim Gordon telling his daughter he was the new Batman and the added drama of him going after Batgirl, but I think I was even more excited about the introduction of Livewire as Bab's new villain.  While we only got a little taste, her look was Superman: The Animated Series and just awesome.  I couldn't wait for this issue to see if the fun would continue.  Well, did it?  Let's find out...

This issue opens with a full page recap of last issue and I loved it.  It not only got the reader up to speed, but really stressed that Barbara has a whole lot on her mind these days.  Her dad is Batman, you know?  Speaking of her father, last issue ended with the Robo Knight about to take Babs downtown, but we see here that his heart's not really in it.

While I was a little upset that the drama of Batgirl versus the new Batman ended so quickly, it makes sense.  Gordon was a confidant of Batman and having him chase down the Bat Family just felt off from the start. However, the GCPD is still after her and Stewart and Fletcher make sure that they leave that intact in a really clever way.  As a bonus, they also address the fact that the "real" Batman is gone.  It was the one thing that I thought was missing last issue and while I still expected Barbara to have some sort of reaction to it, at least it was said out loud.

Then we get to Livewire and the issue revs into overdrive.  It's obvious that nobody in Gotham has satellite radio and besides, shock jocks are so 90's, so this version of Leslie Willis is a wannabe internet video star (I'd love to say her videos were on Q-Tube) who's last video featured a blur of Superman and the origin of Livewire.  I may not agree with the all the changes this book has introduced, but this one is genius.  It maintains the important points of the characters original creation while updating for a younger set (and everyone, actually).

Everything comes together when Barbara suits up to help her father take down Livewire.  Of course, he doesn't want her anywhere near the action, but she knows Batman will need her help.  It is such a cool reverse of any story with Batman and justifies the idea of Jim telling his secret to his daughter.  Plus, they work together like...father and daughter.  After this, I wish they were a team in every Bat book together.  While I was so sad that it looks like Livewire's run already came to an end, it was worth seeing this dynamic duo work as a team.

The issue ended with a great surprise to fans of Batgirl...especially Gail Simone's run.  I won't spoil it, but it was great on the surface, but also was awesome for what it seems to show about the changing attitude at DC Comics as well.  Thumbs up to everyone involved.

I love Babs Tarr's art in this issue.  While I thought that Robo Batman didn't have the appropriate "weight" to him last issue, everything looks kosher here.  While it took me a little while to get used to Tarr's style on this book, the expressions she gives the characters sell the story so well.  I also have to mention Cameron Stewart's awesome cover that just fits the issue to a T.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue was a fun, fast read that pushed the Batgirl/Batman drama into a whole new direction, ended Livewire's brief reign of terror and will make longtime Batgirl fans so happy.  The art and story really came together to make this an homage at the same time it sets up the future of the book.  I really enjoyed this issue and recommend the last two issues to everyone, even those turned off by Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr's new direction of the character.


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