Batgirls #14 is published by DC Comics and written by the team of Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad. This issue features artwork, colours and letters from Jonathan Case. Main cover art (left) is by Jorge Corona and Sarah Stern.
Batgirls #14 is available from today in comic book stores and on digital platforms where all good comic books are sold.
This is a special all-silent issue of Batgirls featuring Cassandra Cain as she mourns her bestie, Steph Brown Batgirl, who was kidnapped by her own dad! If Cass doesn’t act fast, she might lose Steph forever…so it’s a good thing she has a single clue about where Cluemaster might’ve taken Steph from when Cass was still body-swapped with her…
Now this is how you tell a story. After the excellent body-swap story which began in the Batgirls Annual, the series is pulling absolutely no punches when it comes to experimenting with structure and style. In its 2023 debut, the series lands with a dialogue-free issue reminiscent of Cassandra Cain’s early time in the DCU which still successfully tells a succinct and impressive story.
Batgirls #14 isn’t entirely devoid of text however. Writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad utilise aspects of the world around Cass when the story requires exposition. A note from a coroner and a letter from Steph do the work of an entire issue of dialogue when it comes to informing the reader about important emotional and narrative events.
Neither writer needs to prove to Batgirls readers that they’re capable of telling a story as emotional as this. It’s clear just how emotional the perceived loss of Steph would be for Cass. As she moves from investigation to confrontation and on to inspecting the evidence, Cass is logical, methodical and yet the sense of anguish is palpable thanks to the pacing and intensity of the story.
The rest of the work lands squarely on the shoulders of artist Jonathan Case. Illustrations, check, colours, check, letters, check. Is there anything this guy can’t do? Batgirls #14 looks spectacular. The series has always had a punk nature to its style. Avoiding cliche and convention for something much more edgy and cool. This issue embodies both of those aspects perfectly. There’s nothing run-of-the-mill about Case’s style and it fits the Batgirls aesthetic like a glove.
The colour work is particularly spectacular, relying on huge blocks of bright colours to stand in contract with the murky black of Cass’s costume. Yet even in it’s magnificent simplicity, the level of detail in the environments and the emotion in the characters expressions and actions is never compromised.
Even without the use of dialogue Cloonan, Conrad and triple threat artist Jonathan Case deliver an emotional, pulse-pounding experience. Batgirls #14 a masterclass in visual storytelling.