After a harrowing battle with the Joker and Punchline during the Joker War, Barbara Gordon is once again adjusting to life after trying to deal with the past trauma that the Clown Prince of Crime left her with. Now being pulled in two different directions by her brother and father, can she finally find peace with her family?
This absolutely feels like there’s only one more issue of the series left.
When the Batgirl Annual #2 came out way back in 2018, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind with the new and darker direction that Batgirl was taking was that she and her brother James Jr. would finally have their own climactic final confrontation, but between then, Scott Snyder’s Batman Who Laughs miniseries, other events and now, it just never happened.
Unfortunately, with the shake-ups at DC Comics and difficult editorial decisions, the series is facing a premature end. With one more issue before the series gets cancelled for now, Cecil Castellucci, Robbi Rodriguez and Jordie Bellaire attempt to tie up one of the loose threads left by Mairghread Scott during her run with the character.
Conceptually, this issue is downright terrifying with a killer targeting women that look a lot like Barbara and then placing them in Batsuits, sending the message that she’s the object of their fixation. Rodriguez’s art only seeks to make this all the more grim with body positioning of the women and the unseen brutality in their deaths and by the sheer rage on Barb’s face as she acknowledges how unsettling it all is.
The main problem I have with this issue is how it paces itself with its eventual reveal and conclusion. Things almost feel like they’re building up to something much bigger and while we suspect one obvious character, Castellucci casts just enough doubt that it might not be said character, but backtracks on that only three pages later, taking away the heavy emotional payoff that could have been saved for an oversized issue fifty.
Castellucci has been a fantastic driving force for the series since she started writing the book and it’s sad to see what had all of the makings of a fantastic story get a semi-rushed ending. Robbi Rodriguez and Jordie Bellaire are also amazing together as the art team and I hope that once Batgirl gets a new series that this team will be able to pick up with the same momentum that they had.
A visual representation of what DC did to this book.
Batgirl #49 succeeds at being an interesting story about family and how Batgirl’s double life not only puts her in danger, but also her family and even people that look like her when the wrong person sets their sights on the hero. Though, it’s rushed and anticlimactic ending as mandated by an editorial cancellation knocks down what could have been an amazing five-issue arc if it needed to be.
Batgirl #49: “Batgirl’s Dead”
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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