Review: Batgirl #41

batgirl041As a phenomenon there are few better than what Batgirl has managed to impact on the comic industry in the past year.  Although really not at the heart of the changing outlook towards young female superheroes (the source might be better located with Ms. Marvel) the character got noted for the change in direction that was taken as she was made to be more approachable to fans.  The subsequent “Batgirling” of other series led to this being a real trend, one that comic companies try to create for themselves but which often fall flat.  On the opposite side of the spectrum are the changes underway with the main Batman title, where Bruce Wayne is presumed to be dead and Jim Gordon has taken his place inside a robotic Batman armor.  This is specifically the kind of controversy that DC Comics has tried to create before with the replacement of Bruce by others, even if it has never really been that effective.

The grassroots versus astroturfing approach to comic trends butts heads in this issue as Barbara returns for her first appearance post-Convergence and she has to deal with the introduction of an unlikely hero as well as the interjection of her father in his Batman gear.  She is on the track of people still under the impression of the villain from Hooq from her first story arc, and it leads her to an abandoned house where she faces the cult-like followers as well as the new Batman.  After a nice interjection with some father-daughter time, where Jim admits to being the new Batman, the heroes face off against each other once again.

In terms of what wins between the manufactured trend of the new Batman versus the organic trend of the new Batgirl, the hands down winner is Batgirl.  The new Batman is a strange direction to take Batman and it remains to be seen if it will connect with the fans at all.  Batgirl on the hand continues moving along with the same momentum, which is built on her solid characterization and a supporting cast of characters that makes her seem more believable.  The Jim Gordon Batman likely has a short shelf life as fans will get tired of the stunt and look for the return of Bruce, but it seems like this new Batgirl is here to stay which is good news for everyone.

Story: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher Art: Babs Tarr
Story: 8.7 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy