Review: Batgirl #42
The recent run on Batgirl has been one that could be considered to be transformative for the medium. It has taken female characters that have all too often been written as having the ultimate combination of stereotypical behaviors, and instead given them a different outlook, one in which their voices are more accurate to what might be said by a real person in their conditions, and to give their characters far more depth than they have been previously allowed. Despite the fact that Batgirl was not even really the first of the modern wave to do so (credit for that belongs to Ms. Marvel) something about the way in which Batgirl has done it has made it the trendsetter for this new outlook. There is an inherent problem to this though, that when something is expected to be great that being only good feels like a relative disappointment.
Such would be the case with Batgirl #43. There are of course not always going to be successes after successes for any series, and there are bound to be a few bumps in the road for any series. One could look to the most recent issue as evidence of that. As Babs runs around the issue trying to balance her superhero life with her regular life, the reader is left to do the same. While this helps to highlight the chaotic level of her day-to-day life, it also leaves the reader a bit wanting for the character which has come to define this series and beyond it into other parts of the medium. At the same time the new threat to Burnside is not really on the same scale as what we have seen before. Although some of the villains under this new run have been either throaways, comical or both, the villains here are instead a bit more typical of an old fashioned comic, or in some ways, even one of the old Hostess superhero advertisements, as someone is letting loose tigers onto unsuspecting members of the tech firm that helped stop Batgirl’s last main foe.
The result is one that is fun, but is much more along the lines of good than great. There are redeeming aspects to this series as always, namely the healthy and accurate way in which it depicts its female characters, but it is also not quite up to par with the run that has come thus far. The situation is just a bit too silly, even if the stakes are as high for the victims of the villain. Those reading for what has come before will be pleased, but those with a deeper exposure to comics might see a bit of the ordinary here, as opposed to the exceptional.
Story: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher Art: Babs Tarr
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read