Gotham City lies in ruin after the events of “City of Bane”! Good neighborhoods have turned bad, and bad neighborhoods have turned worse. As Barbara Gordon’s friends and neighbors try to rebuild their homes, she faces a conflict she can’t win with her fists: “Who Really Owns Gotham?” Batgirl intends to find out!
Batgirl #44 might be filled with beautifully illustrated epic high-fantasy dragons and magical swords, but it is a story about the fears of love through and through, taking readers on an emotional roller coaster that ends with a dramatic twist that no one will see coming. While the Maker and his own perils are interesting, it’s the insight into Babs and Jason that will keep you turning the pages!
Castellucci and company have been putting Babs through the wringer with the latest arc, finding her exploring her feelings for Jason Bard more and more. In Batgirl #44, we find Babs finally convincing herself that she is both loveable and willing to open herself to a healthy relationship with Bard. The fight with against this monstrous dragon serves as an ongoing metaphor to explore the feelings that surround such an important personal dilemma. From the imagery of her Babs family (and Batfamily!) surrounding their fight to the source of strength for the dragon itself, we find a wonderfully in-depth story that makes you feel for the struggle at hand.
At moments, I go back into my old thinking in seeing this relationship as a toxic remembrance of someone who put Babs in a truly dark place and I inherently worry about the potential for emotional manipulation. My worries were absolutely not put at ease with that shocking cliffhanger either. To spend an entire issue building Babs up to open herself emotionally then put in a twist like that is both devastating and really amazing storytelling.
Cian Tormey and Chris Sotomayer really pull off some really great panels with a script that has more opportunities to shine than I’ve seen in a long time. Everything from the character expressions to the vivid coloring is spot on, and the letters from Andworld Design carry you through the chaos with relative ease. The aesthetic suits Batgirl quite well and I’m hoping to see more of this level of execution going forward.
Ultimately, Batgirl #44 is a heartfelt exploration of the chemistry between Babs and Bard, masked by a high-fantasy epic that will absolutely have fans talking by the final page. The next issue is sure to be an exciting one!
Batgirl #44 might be filled with beautifully illustrated epic high-fantasy dragons and magical swords, but it is a story about the fears of love through and through, taking readers on an emotional roller coaster that ends with a dramatic twist that no one will see coming.
Batgirl #44: Am I Even Loveable?
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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