[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Brian Ching
Kara and Barbara team up in National City to defend themselves against the vengeful Magog, as he brings chaos to Tychotech’s public demonstration of the “Tycho Eidolon,” a revolutionary and very experimental Phantom energy generator. When the machine is damaged in Magog’s assault and a rupture leading to the Phantom Zone is torn open, our black and blue heroes venture through it to rescue their trapped friend, Ben.
Lots of great, snappy dialogue in this issue, particularly in the first few panels between Kara, Barbara and Ben. Fun riffing between our heroes, discussing the necessity of a “Super-Signal” and playful quips about Gotham and masks, is the exact kind of thing that brings readers back issue after issue. Because what’s the point in having super friends if you can’t share a nice moment with them, when things are quiet and nothing is on fire?
Heroes always feel slightly more badass when they’re out of their own city and helping people somewhere else, and Batgirl in National City is no exception. Barb dons the cowl as soon as trouble starts and doesn’t waste any time before she’s saving scores of people and leaping through inter-dimensional portals in a storm of batarangs and that signature Gotham attitude. Not to subtract from Supergirl’s very cool takedown in the Magog fight, which might be my favourite Kryptonian trick yet.
The artwork in this issue is brilliant, sharp and warm. Until we’re taken to the Phantom Zone, where Ching gives us a generous splash of cold, beautiful interstellar scenes as well as a shadow-drenched glimpse at Lord Xa-Du, the vampirical Phantom King. Definitely looking forward to spending more time in the Phantom Zone with Kara, Barb and Xa-Du.
We did not get to see the relatively small DEO agent successfully grab Magog before he teleports from the ruins of the Tychotech Energy Exposition. I would love to have seen what would have happened to the poor hapless agent, but then again perhaps a random disembowelment would have distracted from the core of the plot.
Fun, fast, and snappy, this issue has momentum and charm and doesn’t waste a panel keeping the plot moving. Our heroes get to be funny, smart and badass, in a tight and beautifully drawn issue.