Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Batgirls #19 Review


Written by: Becky Cloonan, Michael ConradArt by: Robbi Rodriguez
Colors by: Rico Renzi
Letters by: Becca Carey
Cover art by: Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: June 20, 2023

Batgirls #19 ends the "From Hell's Heart" arc and the creative team's run on the title with a parade in support of the Batgirls that ends in gunfire and bloodshed.

Is It Good? 

Well, this is it. Batgirls #19 marks the end of Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad's run on the title. Regardless of what you think of the quality of their storytelling, I wish them well.

So, does Batgirls #19 end the creative team's tenure with a bang? Literally, yes. Figuratively and metaphorically, not so much. There are just as many good points as bad ones, so the finale is a mixed bag.

When last we left the cauldron, they engaged in some surprisingly effective detective work to track down the sniper holding Gotham in a grip of fear. The snipers publicly blamed the Batgirls for their recent shooting spree, and they ordered the Batgirls to be arrested or let innocent civilians suffer. Now, the city comes out in a show of support for the Batgirls, and the Batgirls quietly attend the festivities, expecting the sniper(s) to make a move. When the shooting starts, the Batgirls move in and take the sniper(s) down, but not before at least one character is faced with a crisis of faith and another gets shot.

Well, who's the sniper(s)? Some have speculated the sniper is the killing duo of Gunbunny and Gunhawk. If you share that speculation, you'd be right and wrong. Let your imagination fill in the rest.

Did the finale pay off the build-up and the entire run under Cloonan and Conrad? "Pay off" is an overstatement. It's at least consistent with the rest of the run, which is to say, uneven and emotionally flaccid. Steph gets a moment to shine with her fighting abilities during the final confrontation, but if she was good enough to be a Batgirl, I'm not certain anyone truly doubted her ability to handle herself in a brawl.

How's the art? Okay, but not great. Robbi Rodriguez turns in decent pencils/inks, but he frequently struggles with anatomy proportions, especially with bizarrely oversized hands. The coloring application is pretty darn good, but Rico Renzi's bizarre obsession with purple casts a nauseating pallor on nearly every page.

So, where does that leave this title? Canceled... for now. Presumably, the Batgirls will go their separate ways and pop up in other titles on occasion, but the possibility of rebooting the title as a standalone is far from certain.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Batgirls #19 ends the arc, the creative team's tenure, and the title with a final confrontation to stop a mad sniper from terrorizing the city. The resolution is serviceable, the killer's mysterious identity was telegraphed early on (although, the identity has a twist), and the art is passable with terrible colors.


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