After a disastrous defeat at the hands of Oracle, Batgirl must find a way to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. But all the while Babs must ask herself how she can defeat a nemesis who knows her every move before she makes it!
The YOTV arc of Batgirl continues in issue #41 that finds Babs struggling with defeat while her once-alter ego now turned villain, Oracle, continues to wreak havoc on Burnside. Is it the end of Batgirl? Absolutely not.
But it sure was a close call!
The Year of the Villain arc that certainly felt like it had been forced in through corporate mandate turns out to be a blessing in disguise for the Batgirl series. After a few arcs that just didn’t hit their mark, it was time for something that carried a bit more weight narratively. As the offer from Apex Lex Luthor loomed over the villains of the DC Universe, we have seen many examples of the latest event both fail to deliver and exceed expectations. In the case of Batgirl, it provides just right boost to steer the series back in an engaging direction.
Writer Cecil Castellucci finds a great way to blend the overarching YOTV motivations into Batgirl’s core history by relating it back to her time spent as the hero known as Oracle. In issue #41, we find Batgirl looking back on this legacy and forced to defend it in the face of danger. Their confrontation last issue proved to be quite the cliffhanger as Batgirl takes a step off the ledge, and picking up with her fighting for her life kicks this issue off with some really enjoyable pacing. By the issue’s end, we find the character looking inwards in a way that really brings heart to the story. The line, “My greatest triumph as a hero is now my greatest enemy.” easily defines this arc and what it brings to the character.
While there are some downfalls, like simply raising more questions than are answered this late into the arc. We have Jason Bard teaming up with Oracle despite cloudy intentions and Batgirl making a narrow escape from the hospital, but it doesn’t really advance the plot regarding how Batgirl will put an end to this faux Oracle. I have mixed emotions on this, to be honest. I am really loving that this arc is taking the necessary time to build a worthwhile story that looks into Batgirl’s past while also bringing in an awesome original villain for the hero, but I also don’t the story to go on longer than it needs to. We haven’t hit that point yet, but I did feel this issue was pivoting to something more substantial.
The artwork from Carmine Di Giandomenico once again brings the story to life. Along with solid colors from Jordie Bellaire, the visuals deliver a classic superhero vibe with a modern sci-fi twist to stand out. It works for both Batgirl and the new villain Oracle, helping the story to feel organic as it develops. Since I haven’t been able to mention it, Andworld Design has done a killer job on the letters for this entire arc. Oracle’s unique bubbles help to sell the sci-fi feel without going overboard, it’s a real treat.
Overall, Batgirl #41 is a solid entry in what has been one of the better arcs for the series. Thought it doesn’t quite push the story forward as much as I’d hoped, it captures more than a few really interesting characteristics of Babs that build her up as a capable and complex hero. Let’s hope “The Race to Save Burnside” in the next issue can keep up the momentum!
Batgirl #41 is yet another solid entry in the "Oracle Rising" arc that continues to build up the titular character as a capable and complex hero by bringing her face to face with the dangers of her past.
Batgirl #41: She Made Me a Hero
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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