Spoilers ahead in Batgirl #46 written by Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher, art by Babs Tarr, Rob Haynes on breakdown, Serge Lapointe on colors and Steve Wands on letters.
Babs and Nadimah are conducting research surrounding building data for school when they find gang involvement in the area pushing people out of the neighborhood. Babs is having trouble concentrating and seems to forget they went to three houses, only recalling two. They meet a lady who is worried about her son, who is involved in the gangs that are causing trouble. Babs later returns as Batgirl and breaks up gang activity. A man, Lewis, watches her and assists taking out a gang member. He tells Babs to meet him later. After sleeping in, Babs sees Frankie’s new implant for the first time and she approves of them being a team. Babs meets Lewis and learns that Spoiler is in trouble, targeted by former Catwoman temp turned crime boss Eiko. She runs into Steph as she faces down Yakuza and together they get her to safety. Babs later has a date with Luke and tells him about all the stressors that have been going on. She tells him about nightmares she’s been having and he notices she’s doodled blueprints for the Negahedron, the weapon she dealt with during the annual.
After being away from this book for a while it’s nice to come back to it with fresh eyes. I feel like Babs Tarr is getting better and better at action, though her artwork gets much sketchier during action scenes. Colors as always are bright and beautiful. The critique of gentrification and developers using gangs to assist pushing people out of neighborhoods was neat.
Stephanie Brown is written way less bubbly and energetic and much more effective than she was the first time Babs and her teamed up in the annual. Babs befriending her and allowing her to stay hidden at her apartment is exciting as its folding Spoiler more and more back into the family after her co-star plotline in Catwoman.
Babs having trouble with concentration, fatigue and her “dream” with the looming figure as well as the Negahedron is an interesting subplot that’s just above being subtle and means something serious is coming.
Stephanie is written much less bubbly in this but unfortunately she looks a lot like Babs art wise just with blonde hair. For all her ability to do diverse peoples sometimes Tarr does have “a look” and even her diverse people can lean towards it. Tarr is also still hiding her friends as cameos, which while cute to a t is becoming excessively cloying due to the frequency of the same people.
I’m glad Stephanie has made it back into a Batgirl book. She was given a great action scene. Babs seems a bit better overall, even though she’s currently struggling (again) in her book. She needs a vacation! (But her nightmares surely mean she won’t be getting one anytime soon!) Stay tuned.