Review: Batgirl #44

Becca Tyrrell Becca Tyrrell
Contributor
October 2nd, 2015

A mild-mannered event planner by day and masked vigilante by night, Becca can usually be found sipping an iced coffee and scouring the stacks at her local comic shop. She splits her time between the TARDIS, Burnside, and Avengers' Tower.

Review: Batgirl #44
Comics
0
Review of: Batgirl #44
Price:
Excellent

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On October 2, 2015
Last modified:October 2, 2015

Summary:

Great character development and fantastic art! A must-read!

Review of: Batgirl #44
Price:
Excellent

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On October 2, 2015
Last modified:October 2, 2015

Summary:

Great character development and fantastic art! A must-read!

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Things are really heating up for Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl as she tries to balance planning a wedding, being a good friend and roommate, and the possibility of new romance -  all the while trying to keep Burnside safe from a new villain and her trained attack tigers. Batgirl #44 begs the question: Can Babs manage this on her own, or will she need to accept some help? Let's find out!

(Spoilers Ahead)

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr made waves with their first arc of Batgirl last year. Following a tremendous run by Gail Simone, the team moved Babs out of Gotham and across the bridge into the trendy neighborhood of Burnside. Balancing a full-time vigilante gig, grad school, a roommate who wants to join Team Batgirl, planning a wedding with her former roommate, and entertaining the idea of finding romance on top of it all  takes its toll on Barbara Gordon. Batgirl #44, written by Stewart and Fletcher and drawn by Bengal, reveals that Babs can find help in the most unlikely of places.

 

From Batgirl #44

From Batgirl #44

Summary:

Batgirl's search for the missing fiance of one of her best friends, brings her face to face with one of Burnside's newest villains, the Velvet Tiger. What the Tiger lacks in combat training, she more than makes up for with technological know-how, even unveiling a device that is able to take out all of Batgirl's gadgets simultaneously. In order to defeat this new foe, Batgirl knows that she will have to get more information and goes to visit recent Team Batgirl addition, Luke Fox.

Story continues below

Luke is able to help Batgirl figure out the identity of the Velvet Tiger, and it turns out that she and Batgirl have an acquaintance in common - Barbara's grad school professor, Jeremy. Batgirl is able to get the location of Velvet Tiger's hideout, where she will most likely find Jo. Batgirl being Batgirl, she literally busts into the mansion that Velvet Tiger is using as her hideout.

 

From Batgirl 44

From Batgirl 44

Sure enough, Jo is being held captive in the mansion, and while Batgirl has her hands full with two trained tigers and the evil genius of Velvet Tiger, Alysia is able to sneak in and rescue her fiance. (Which is arguably the most heart-warming moment in the entire issue!) Batgirl is able to take care of the two tigers with tranquilizer darts, but things take a turn for the worse when Velvet Tiger uses a tranquilizer on Batgirl herself.

But Batgirl is never truly alone, and her motorcycle, apparently come to life, crashes in and begins talking to her. The bike is able to coax Batgirl on and carry her to safety, but not before alerting the GCPD to the whereabouts of Velvet Tiger. The next morning we find Batgirl having coffee with her friend Luke and discussing the events of the previous night when Luke reveals that Frankie Charles had recently declined a job opportunity with FoxTech before changing the subject and kissing Barbara.

The final pages of the issue show us just what Frankie has been up to...and it's awesome.

 

Critique:

When I saw the cover of this month's Batgirl, I was apprehensive that the majority of the issue would be dedicated to the romance between Luke and Barbara, and the butt-kicking Batgirl that I love would take a back seat to that story. I could not have been more wrong! Not only was the romance relegated to less than one page, the entire issue was chock full of important character development and non-stop action. Suffice it to say that Team Batgirl is KILLING IT.

As much as this series is about Barbara Gordon, I love the way that Stewart and Fletcher show us that Babs is successful because of the support of her friends. Even if she doesn't always see it, she can't be successful without them. It takes a village to make a Batgirl, which is something that I'm looking forward to seeing Babs realize in coming issues.

I love Frankie Charles, and I love that she isn't taking no for an answer. Despite Babs' frequent and emphatic pleas that Frankie be safe and leave the dirty work to Batgirl, Frankie does what she wants, and usually, exactly what Babs needs. I love the parallels that are being drawn between Frankie's development as a vigilante and Barbara's own back story. When she first decided to become Batgirl, she was told to go home, to keep herself safe, and to leave the crime-fighting to the professionals. (Batman and Robin, of course.)  She didn't listen either, and that has made her a better hero, as I'm sure it will for Frankie too. Plus, it's going to make for one sweet pay off for the readers when we finally get to see Frankie fully take on the mantle of Oracle. (I loved the reference that the writers threw in this issue - having Frankie list her return address as Delphi-just brilliant.)

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In terms of representation and diversity, I feel like this is one of the best mainstream titles out there. Babs' former roommate Alysia is a transgender woman of color, Frankie is a bisexual woman of color with muscular dystrophy and BOTH characters had major heroic moments in this issue. And those moments didn't feel forced or like pandering on the part of the writers. Both women fought for the things that mattered to them, and in a way that furthered their narratives first, and Barbara's second.

It's a testament to the creative team of this book that they are able to handle topics that are so resonant without cheapening them or falling into familiar tropes. These characters aren't stuck in the role of sidekick, and that's my favourite thing about this arc, and this issue in particular. In a landscape that isn't always friendly to the "other", Batgirl rings true and clear, and tells the kinds of stories that I'd like to see across other titles.

Batgirl has always represented fighting for what you know is right, even when everyone you know is telling you not to, carving out your own space and leaving your own legacy, and most of all the idea that anything can happen if you're brave enough to follow where your heart leads. And this issue is the perfect encapsulation of those ideals.

 

Becca Tyrrell is a Contributor to ComiConverse: Follow her on Twitter: @Arrtee

Batgirl #44

  • 5

Excellent

Great character development and fantastic art! A must-read!

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