Batgirls #13 is published by DC Comics and written by Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad. Art, colours and letters for issue #13 are all by Jonathan Case. The main cover artwork (left) is by Jorge Corona and Sarah Stern.
Batgirls #13 is available from today in print and on digital where all good comic books are sold.
Batgirls Steph and Cass were taken off guard when they were captured by their own parents while magically swapped inside each other’s body in the 2022 Annual, and now it’s time for them to take the power back and do their own confronting! But sometimes it’s easier to kick butt than it is to talk about feelings, especially when those feelings hit close to home. Lady Shiva and Cluemaster seem to want to make amends with their daughters, but if the girls know anything, it’s that nothing is ever what it seems!
We’re in super high-concept area as Batgirls dives head first in to the Vice Versa arc. After cleverly utilising last month’s oversized annual to lay the groundwork, Cloonan and Conrad are layering a bunch of parental issues on top of the Freaky Friday narrative.
With Cass and Steph stuck in each other’s bodies each is forced to confront the other’s despicable parents, further exploring the path not travelled. If nothing else, there’s a wealth of personal development for both characters lurking between the lines in Cloonan and Conrad’s narrative. But we know there’s far much more to it than that!
Issue #13 is incredibly well balanced between the series’ three leads. Hopping between “Cass” having dinner with her mother, Lady Shiva, “Steph” having been abducted by her father, Sportsmaster and Barbara working with Bruce to try and solve the body swap problem. Team books so often struggling to strike the level of balance that Batgirls has continued to display every month.
It’s also great to see Batgirls straying from the straight up detective crime genre. In its first year the book has worked pretty tirelessly to prove itself as a worthy Bat-title and now that’s done it’s time for some fun. Cloonan and Conrad are able to show the versatility of their characters by entering the magical side of the DCU without presenting it as comedy buffoonery. With real stakes and real lessons to learn it seems like Vice Versa could have great implications for the future.
Visually, issue #13 hangs on the shoulders of triple threat artist Jonathan Case. Case continues Batgirls’ unique visual style without compromising any of his own individuality. This month Batgirls takes on some of the horror sensibilities of books from BOOM!, visual similarities to Stuff of Nightmares certainly feels fitting for some of the supernatural setting.
I’ve consistently said that Batgirls is one of my favourite books of 2022 and this final issue has only cemented that further. The Vice Versa arc may only be two issues old but is already proving the versatility of the creative team. I predict even bigger things in 2023 for the Batgirls!