Review: Batgirl #42
[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Carmine Digiandomenico
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Reviewed by: Sean Blumenshine
With Oracle calling the shots in Burnside, Batgirl must figure out how to survive her nightmare opponent. But how do you defeat a nemesis who does you better than you? Does the answer lie within? Our hero just might have to forget everything she knows in order to beat these impossible odds!
Carmine Digiandomenico and Ivan Plascencia’s cover is very cool. I love the background colors especially how the fire bleeds into the sky.
The interior art is also great. It’s expressive and unique. There’s a lot of style and energy in each panel that propels the story forward.
The most enjoyable aspect of the issue is Batgirl trying to go against her instincts. Oracle can predict her every move so she has to be unpredictable. She’s relying less on her brain and more on her guts. That creates a nice sense of spontaneity for the issue. It also presents a cool challenge for Babs to overcome; she’s not using her usual skills.
I like how Bard’s side of this story. The silver age conflict of him hating Batgirl but loving Babs is fun. The element added to it here is that he’s responsible enough to recognize that Oracle is a real threat and Batgirl can stop it. There’s no pettiness or immaturity. It allows Babs’ decision to kiss him more believable. In a tough situation, he showed that his priorities and morality were in the right place.
This is a major nitpick but I don’t like that Babs used older costumes as decoys. Those costumes look infinitely better than the current one and I don’t know why she doesn’t wear them.
I was somewhat invested in Oracle at first but this whole thing has kind of lost me. What Cecil Castellucci thinks is interesting is that Babs created her so it knows her every move. That’s the idea that is put most in the forefront. But the emotional core of this conflict is that Babs abandoned Oracle. The issue touches on this a little bit but not enough to make Oracle compelling enough to carry this entire story. This is not a villain I feel anything for outside of the growth and challenges she presents for Batgirl as a character.
This is a solid issue. It’s a lot of fun to see Babs force herself to push her own limits and work out of her mental comfort zone. She got to play to strengths she didn’t know she had. However, I do think Oracle ended up being a fairly dull character and that killed some of enjoyment by the end. I still would recommend reading the issue.