Review: Batgirls #15
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Art: Neil Googe
Colors: Rico Renzi
Letters: Frank Cvetkovic
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Will Cassandra be in time to save Steph from her father? Or will she? Wha…???
If you’re enjoying the adventures of the Batgirls, then Batgirls #15 will be another great installment! Issues #14 and #15 have been more Steph and Cass centric than usual, with no Barbara Gordon sighting. While I wouldn’t want to dismiss her from the series, it’s ok. It’s important to spend quality time with each member of the cast.
This issue continues to show the friendship between Steph and Cass in a couple of ways. Obviously, after the events of last issue we get to see Cassandra attempt to stave Steph from her father, the Cluemaster. And, then it gets a little strange.
Cluemaster shoots at Cass and Steph jumps in front of her taking the bullet. And, she dies. Yep. Not kidding. Steph dies. Luckily, Cass lifted an experimental Lazarus serum from the League of Assassins last issue. (Did you miss that?) Thankfully, Steph comes back to life and things are right. This does give the reader another angle on the duo’s friendship. It’s a great moment for that. It’s also great that there isn’t a year long period of Batgirls with a dead Steph. Additionally, this experimental formula of Lazarus serum doesn’t come with the usual side effects of a warped mind. Mercifully, we are saved from all those contrivances.
Neil Googe does a fine job in the storytelling department. He makes a long sequence of Steph tied to a chair with great facial expressions and creative angles, as well as making Cluemaster seem as demented as he’s written. The consistent color palatte issue to issue really gives the book a unique and recognizable look. Jonathan Case did it last issue, and Rico Renzi returns this issue. Although, we can’t forget that Sarah Stern developed this look first back at the outset of the run.
One of the themes of Batgirls #15 is that Cluemaster is a terrible father. This could be a difficult read for some, as there is clear violence from father to daughter and vice versa. Despite this, it is a very powerful and moving theme. Your heart really goes out to Steph. What’s really exceptional is that Steph doesn’t have a black and while view of the situation, she hates that he’s the way he is and their relationship is thus. She is able to be above it enough to see how it COULD be.
Only one negative comes to mind for Batgirls #15. If the classic contrivances of a “death and resurrection” are going to play out in the matter of minutes, why not just go with a close call that contains all the drama and emotion? While I’m not wishing it would’ve been drug out and trivialized over time, the quick turnaround unfortunately makes it seem just as inconsequential. There could be an upcoming plotline that will play off this moment or the Lazarus serum in general that will make this moment more significant.
A high level of disparate emotions makes Batgirls #15 an excellent exploration of relationships. That’s what really matters, right? The people in our lives? This title makes this consistently important and therefore, consistently quality storytelling. This is a unique and special title, and the tease of the Mad Hatter in the subsequent storyline is something to be excited about.