Review: Batgirl #42
The new Batman is back and Batgirl still can’t quite figure out what to do about him. In the previous issue this series, which works pretty well as a standalone series, was brought back into the bigger picture of Gotham City as James Gordon’s Batman made his first appearance. The James Gordon Batman is a bit of an anomaly, because while readers are still not sure what to believe with the new Superman, there is still a Bruce Wayne in the universe, and this therefore feels very temporary (especially as the regular is as normal elsewhere.) That this other Batman had to show up here was maybe a necessity, especially considering that he is Batgirl’s father, but the series works so well that it doesn’t really need any outside interference, especially that which is of a lesser quality.
The previous issue did give a bit of better setup though. Although the Batman was there, so was fan favorite Livewire, an underutilized villain in the DC Universe, and hopefully one that might see some more exposure if her appearance here is anything to base itself on. After a brief showdown with her father in Bat-suits, the two find an uneasy balance as he is able to tell her to stay away from trouble but also that he is tasked with taking her down if she makes herself too visible. There is some clever use of the past here as Batman and Batgirl are juxtaposed alongside James and Barbara, with the two having father-daughter moments without one half of the duo realizing it.
The end result is an issue that is not as bad as it probably should have been. The novelty of the James Gordon Batman is already rubbing off, especially as DC is doing bigger things with Bruce Wayne elsewhere. The strange direction started off well enough but seems already to have stalled. While there was enough to hold this issue back, it still worked on a couple of different levels, both with the choice of villain and in the novel way that they chose to tell the story. It wasn’t as good as what has been seen recently in this title, but still wasn’t a bad effort.
Story: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher Art: Babs Tarr
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy