With Oracle calling the shots in Burnside, Batgirl must figure out how to survive her nightmare opponent. But how do you defeat a nemesis who does you better than you? Does the answer lie within? Our hero just might have to forget everything she knows in order to beat these impossible odds!
In Batgirl #42, we find the conclusion to the surprisingly epic Oracle Rising arc that saw Babs own programming come back to haunt her and Burnside in the worst way imaginable. Her only hope of truly being the hero?
Do the unexpected.
And that is certainly what she does throughout the entire issue. It’s an interesting dynamic that writer Castellucci has devised, pitting Batgirl against her own intelligence. This forces her into a position where every single action she takes must be on a whim and without meticulous calculation. The large scale action sequence that ensues following these parameters is just awesome!
What might not be so awesome is the surprise kiss at the end of the issue. SPOILER ALERT…it’s Jason. Yep, the same Jason that wreaked havoc on her life back in Batman Eternal and has served as a constant reminder of how Babs can truly not care about someone despite her best intentions as a hero. Well, staying true to the mentality of this issue and being unexpected, Babs comes to the conclusion that there must be forgiveness. That there must be kindness after pain. I’m not sure I agree with the storytelling decision to make Babs fall for this guy after all that he’s done and what he means in her life, but it’s some heavy drama that I am certainly excited to follow.
After what turned out to be a rather lackluster arc previously. the Oracle Rising arc finishes strong and proves that Batgirl has a lot of storytelling potential when handled appropriately. However, the real strength of the entire arc came from the incredibly strong visuals by Carmine Di Giandomenico, Jordie Bellaire and Andworld Design. The small area of Burnside has a Gotham feel but still remains distinctive with some of the best landscape work today. The characters are fluid and full of expression, but the action is a downright spectacle. I had no idea such an action-packed and intense story would feel so natural with Babs.
Ultimately, Batgirl #42 ends the Oracle Rising arc on a strong note despite a questionable kiss there at the end. The character growth that Babs is forced to grasp feels in touch with who she is though, helping to ground the story with heart. This is a story with action and drama, of course, but it also has consequence. And that is what will pull me back in for another issue. Although there is another arc starting up, I want to see where these characters go next and how the events will continue to develop around Babs journey as a hero and her own interpersonal relationships. This creative team certainly has a powerful vision and voice for the character so hopefully there is a lot more to come.
Batgirl #42 is an issue packed full of unpredictable action and drama, but it's true success stems from it's willingness to explore the impact of consequence in both Bab's journey as a hero and her own personal relationships.
Batgirl #42: Kindness After Pain
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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