This review contains spoilers.
Batgirl #52 is written by Brenden Fletcher with art by Eleanor Carlini and Minkyu Jung and colors by Serge Lapointe.
Barbara broke up with Luke and decided to leave Gotham for a while. Gladius, a villain Batgirl had stopped previously, broke out of prison and planned to attack Gotham Academy as vengeance.
Batgirl, Black Canary, Vixen, Spoiler and Bluebird are able to save the students but discover the woman threatening them is an imposter. The real Gladius stole blueprints in order to find a weapon called the Negahedron. Batgirl is able to stop Gladius after a motorcycle/fire truck chase. Barbara’s friends all throw her a surprise going away party so that she can say goodbye to everyone. The issue ends with Barbara saying one final goodbye to Dinah and Frankie before leaving.
Despite it not being Babs Tarr, the art is still really good. Lapointe’s colors make it feel consistent with the previous issues but this art stands on its own. It still feels like Batgirl and is as fun to look at as Tarr’s art has been.
The Birds of Prey element really is my favorite part of the issue. Dinah and Barbara have always had a great dynamic so I’m down to see anything with the two of them. It’s just fun to see this team of five awesome super-heroines come together to kick ass. I also like the appearances of the Gotham Academy characters.
Tarr does the cover and I’m sadly not a fan. The colors are really cool but something about Batgirl’s facial expression is just odd to me.
Gladius is a fairly generic villain. There’s nothing to her. She wants a weapon to do something, I guess. I understand that this issue is more about Barbara’s farewell but then maybe Gladius should never have been written in or taken out right away.
In my review of Starfire #12, I complimented Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s ability to give a sense of finality. One of the things that made that issue work so well is that it very much felt like a bittersweet goodbye. I compared it to graduating high school with those feelings of sadness mixed with hope for the future. I wish I had those feelings here but I don’t. I feel kind of hollow for most of the farewell scenes. Maybe it’s because I know Birds of Prey is happening so Dinah and Babs are going to be reunited instantly. Or maybe it’s because I don’t care about these supporting characters as much as I did in the Starfire book. I’m honestly not that sad to be losing these characters. The ones that would make me sad are sticking around in other books. This is the biggest problem here; the emotion just falls flat and doesn’t strike any chords.
Overall, this is a disappointing finale. I’ve truly loved this series and this team so I’m sad to see it end; I just wish that the book reflected those emotions. The dialogue is still fun and the action is cool but the heart this team usually conveys so well, for some reason, doesn’t come through for me. It’s not terrible or even bad; I’m just ambivalent towards it which is disappointing. I would recommend waiting for the trade on this one.