Writers: Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart
Artist: Babs Tarr
Publisher: DC Comics
Review: Batgirl #40 brings a conclusion to the first story arch in the Batgirl of Burnside that began in issue 35 when the creative team or writers Cameron Steward, Brendan Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr took over the reigns from previous series writer, Gail Simone. This series provided Barbra Gordan aka Batgirl with a fresh new start in the hip Gotham suburb of Burnside, as well as giving Batgirl a more basic and homemade Batsuit that won over younger readers as this was a more youth friendly version of Batgirl.
Picking up immediately after the end of the previous issue, Barbara finally discovers the identity of the person responsible for sending a barge of villains after her in a bid to remove her from Burnside and ruin her reputation. These attacks included a team of twins that resembled characters from an old anime series that Barbara watched as a child, an imposter Batgirl and even the Burnside police force. The culprit as it turns out was a corrupt algorithm that Barbara had written on her computer that was stolen after a wild party in issue 1.
The issue itself, which is titled Ghost in the Cowl, is an entertaining read. Stewart and Fletcher have managed to create an interesting story and character dynamic, which includes Barbara and Dinah’s (the Black Canary from the girls group the Birds of Prey) strained friendship as well as showing Barbara enjoying her youth, as readers are reminded that she is still only in her early 20’s.
The issue is a tie in with Secret Origins #10, which provides a background to the rogue algorithm as well as how it was used to help Barbara recover from her accident after being shot by the Joker in Alan Moore’s masterpiece, The Killing Joke which left her in a wheelchair for many years. Readers were suggested at the end of the previous issue to read Secret Origins #10 and then to read #40, and to be honest this is the only way you’ll be able to fully understand what is going on with regards to the algorithm regardless of whether or not you have read previous issues.
The Burnside story arch was maybe a bit lighter in tone to older readers but managed to win over younger readers, particularly young girls. Batgirls new outfit matches the new feel of the series, but to be honest I can’t keep help but thinking that this new look and youthful feel to the series would have been better suited to perhaps a Batgirl Year One kind of story arch rather than following on from the more darker and serious tone of Simone’s issues. Regardless Babs Tarrs artwork is the true winner of this series.
Regardless, Batgirl #40 is a delightful read as this issue marks the end of the New 52 for DC only to be relaunched in June. Batgirl will not be affected by the change as the current creative team will return with Batgirl #41. This issue was also apart of DC’s movie poster variant month and Batgirl had the best looking of all the variants by recreating Prince’s iconic poster, Purple Rain.
Review written by Christopher Innis