Batgirl #49 review

Artwork from 'Batgirl' #49
'Batgirl' #49 cover by Babs Tarr
‘Batgirl’ #49 cover by Babs Tarr
  • Written by Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher
  • Art by Horacio Domingues, Babs Tarr, Roger Robinson, Ming Doyle & James Harvey
  • Cover by Babs Tarr

To unravel the secret of Batgirl’s bizarre new nemesis, her friends must travel to strange and uncharted territory: the inside of Barbara Gordon’s spectacular mind!

Pickup your copy of ‘Batgirl’ #49 at Comixology now!

Let’s start of by clearing the air about ‘Batgirl and the Birds of Prey’ now that the formal announcement of ‘Rebirth’ has taken place – read more on that here. I was wrong about some of the supporting players from ‘Batgirl’ comics transferring over to that team… or so it would appear.

Mistaken presumptions aside that doesn’t mean that the supporting crowd in ‘Batgirl’ should be discounted, in fact they very much own this issue whilst Barb is sidelined by Fugue. Predictably Dinah has the loudest voice but she is easily rivalled by Frankie who is fast becoming a very serious player in the story of Burnside.

Functioning very much like the ‘Birds of Prey’ team it’s up to Dinah and Frankie to save Barbara from her own mind and naturally that would require the Barbara AI to come back in to action. Stewart and Fletcher have done a great job carving out a nice for the character in her current setting without pitching the book too obviously at any one cross section of the audience. There’s an awareness throughout her storylines that many fans miss Barbara as Oracle and so her techie side has never been forgotten. It may have come back to haunt her in this current arc but it does help to make the series both contemporary and gripping.

Artwork from 'Batgirl' #49
Artwork from ‘Batgirl’ #49

The major elephant in the room comes in the decision to make many of Barbara’s memories faked as part of Fugue’s plan to destroy Batgirl.

As you can see from the panel to the right there are a selection of memories from Barbara’s mind which may (or may not) have been faked. Two of the most prominent panels on the page appear to show scenes from ‘The Killing Joke’ meaning that the story may no longer be part of the ‘Batgirl’ canon.

There’s no finality to the division of memories so the issue very much leaves the outcome in the hands of the reader to decide and I dare say this was the idea behind this very page from the start.

It’s a bold move on behalf of the creative team and has undoubtedly caused a lot of angry message board posts and tweets in regards to writing over one of the most highly regarded comics of all time but if the writers played it safe they would be equally as derided. There really is no winning here.

There’s a bevy of artists working on this issue yet there’s still a consistency in keeping with recent issues and the overall feel of this volume of the series. Pages like the above absolutely zing off the page and at no point does the book drop in the doldrums of dark, washed out panels. I only hope that the new ‘Batgirl’ post ‘Reborn’ continues to look at good.

The story is a basic delve in to the mind of Barbara in order to save her but having the AI Barbara does at least add a slightly unique spin on the idea. It’s a fairly derivative story but to get the character from where she is at the beginning to where she is at the end it needed to happen and knowing that the creative team have really pushed the boundaries of the artwork to create an issue which is still worth a read.

With ‘Batgirl’ heading in to fronting two books from the summer now is the time to catch up with the goings on in Burnside!

4 stars

 

 

4 stars

 

About Neil Vagg 1576 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG