Friday, October 30, 2020

Batgirl #50 Review


Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Aneke, Emanuela Lupacchino, Marguerite Sauvage
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: October 28, 2020

Batgirl is ending with this issue, and while the overall series hasn't always been the best, I am a Batgirl fan and liked a lot of it.  However, I was not too fond of Cecil Castellucci's run at all.  While the book wasn't selling well when she jumped on, the sales numbers and storytelling quality took a nosedive as we dealt with android Oracle, Unearth, Living Metal, and more (or less?)  So, here we go with a finale that pushes Batgirl into today's headlines and more (or less?!?!)

The issue opens with James Jr's funeral and then a meal at the old diner where Barbara has one of her last good memories of her brother.  The funeral bit is good with some feels between Babs and her Father, but the diner is another story.  Barbara comes off as a real jerk with her angry inner monologue, spurred on by her Father's hate-filled speech directed at Batgirl.  Why can't we get some love to end it?  Why can't we have at least a tiny bit of discussion about Jim Gordon's Infection?  Later, Castellucci has him going off to speak at a fundraiser...really?!?!  Unfortunatley, it's the wrong type of fundraiser, at least for Castellucci.

That's the thing about this issue.  It doesn't feel like a Batgirl issue.  It feels like an "It's the last issue, and I'll just do what I want" issue.  Yea, we get Jason Bard and Batgirl forgiving each other, and Barbara and Jason getting cozy. Still, nothing here shows me that Castellucci knows Barbara as a character, and she doesn't seem to know much of her history besides the handful of issues that came before her run.

For example, Jason Bard comes off as a guy who made a mistake and butted heads with Jim Gordon.  He is a massive piece of shit who helped frame Gordon for murder, worked with Hush against the Bat-Family, and blew up vast chunks of Gotham!  It goes well with Castellucci's portrayal of James Jr as a misunderstood, attention-seeking brother with a disassociative disorder in that it is surface-level nonsense that ignores every bit of character work that came before it!

Castellucci has also left a lot of questions unanswered. What happened to Bard running without a limp after Unearth?  When and why did Barbara and Bard decide to continue working with Alejo after what she did with the Living Metal?  

Instead, Castellucci spends her time getting topical with Barbara joining protests and shaming the Bat-Family into checking their privilege.  Bruce has been through some shit recently, including Alfred's death, but Barbara is mad because he doesn't donate to the right charities!

There are two backups to make this a $5.99 issue, but really, I could barely get through this first part.  Castellucci uses this final issue as her soapbox, and Batgirl fans have to suffer.  It's not deep enough to be good on its own, and it's not anywhere near a good Batgirl issue.  At least the art was great because everything else was terrible.

Bits and Pieces:

Cecil Castellucci uses this Batgirl finale as a personal soapbox, and I hated it.  It's not the message but the execution, and even after a dismal run on Batgirl, this is hard to swallow.  Leave your politics for your Twitter feed and give Batgirl fans an ending they deserve or at least would like!


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