Artist: Babs Tarr
Colours: Serge Lapointe
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: August 26th 2015
David LaFuente and John Rauch have done an excellent job with this front cover. Your attention is somewhat divided between the ominous shadow in the background and the battered and yet still furiously determined Batgirl surrounded by angered tigers. There is so much going on here, and it’s easy for artists to sacrifice detail at the expense of a lot of content, but that isn’t the case here: everything is beautifully illustrated. It shows of the artists’ abilities fantastically, and earns itself a place in my ever expanding list of beautiful comic book covers.
Artistically speaking, this is one hell of a comic. Babs Tarr really has nothing to prove: she’s shown us time and time again just how talented she is, and yet just when you think you’ve seen the full extent of her abilities, she pulls out a freaking tiger on you. Frankie in a suit kind of resembles Halle Berry’s Catwoman (Honestly, the less we say about that the better), but it really works for her. You can see the change in her because of her work with Batgirl: she’s desperate to come out from behind the desk and prove to Barbara that she’s exactly what Batgirl needs. Her facial expressions show a range of emotions, from frustrated to determined, and it once again shows just how truly talented Tarr is. It really is a beautifully illustrated comic, and I hope she’ll be afforded the opportunity to illustrate for this series for a long time to come.
Fletcher and Stewart are known (to me at least) for creating fantastic storylines, but unfortunately this wasn’t one of them. The idea behind Frankie wanting to spread her wings is a good one, and I liked that she took the initiative to step in where Batgirl couldn’t. It’s a good way to start a new chapter in Frankie’s life, hopefully one that Batgirl can learn to be ok with. That was about where the positives end. The front cover made it seem like Batgirl was going to be in an extremely dangerous situation, and I suppose it’s my fault for focusing too much on the cover, but I was incredibly disappointed by just how little is actually going on inside.
Alysia and Jo are here, and that’s great for Barbara, but her preoccupation with their wedding plans is putting a strain on her entire Batgirl operation, and her working relationship with Frankie. It doesn’t sit well with me, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading Batgirl, the Birds of Prey Series, Batman and just about every comic book issue Batgirl has been in, it’s that she values her friendships above all else. She’s stubborn to a T, and her flitting back and forth between helping Alysia, fighting nonsensically with Frankie, and being careless when in a fight with a gosh darn Tiger is too unlike Barbara and Batgirl for me to be able to fully appreciate what might actually be going on in this issue.
It’s highly probable that you’ll have a different opinion of this issue to me, and that’s cool. I just can’t get over the fact that the Barbara and Batgirl portrayed in this issue are so out of character. The story just seemed too slow, like too much emphasis was being placed on the fact that her friend had come to see her, and not enough on the fact that the partnership that had been formed between herself and Frankie had been fractured, perhaps beyond the point of repair. Stewart and Fletcher are usually good at keeping everyone in character, so I’m hoping things will be righted in the next issue. With this being said, it’s not an excuse to not read the comic, or at the very least look at the fantabulous pieces of art Babs Tarr has once again created for us. If anything, it’s this issue’s redeeming quality, and is another reason why I like Tarr so much.
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