“Summer of Lies”
Batgirl #17 is the “Summer of Lies” storyline finale and it is an issue full of action and drama. Batgirl and Nightwing are teaming up to take out a villain named the Red Queen. The Red Queen is not Babs’ normal everyday villain, though; she has a unique connection to her past and a personal vendetta against Batgirl. Can Babs overcome her past to defeat the Red Queen, or will guilt over her past become her ultimate downfall, allowing the Red Queen to have her revenge against Batgirl and Nightwing?
Well, it seems I have jumped into the Batgirl series at the very end of a story arc in Batgirl #17. This could have been a major problem for me, as I am not super-familiar with the character of Barbara Gordon and really never read a Batgirl series in my life, but wow, Hope Larson did a fantastic job with this issue. I mean, yeah, I probably did not get the full impact of the story just from this one issue, but wow, it was a really interesting story and Larson really put a lot into those 22 pages. I never felt lost or confused, even though this was the finale of the story arc. Larson got the whole basis of the story throughout Batgirl #17 and made it a very entertaining read even for someone like me who just picked up this issue!
I really loved how she wrote the romance/friendship between Babs and Dick Grayson; it was interesting to see the progression through the current day story and flashbacks. The main plot between Batgirl and the Red Queen was great; I will keep this spoiler-free, but what happened between her and Barbara is very tragic and brings up some great story points and motivations for the Red Queen. I also like how Batgirl #17 tackles some serious subjects, but it is also super “comicbooky” at the same time.
The art was a lot of fun in Batgirl #17; Chris Wildgoose handles the pencils in this issue and does some really great work. The first few pages are a flashback with Batgirl and a young Dick Grayson as Robin teaming up; it has this great Batman 66 vibe to it with the characters’ looks and actions. I really love how Wildgoose draws his characters; they have details but are also very “simple” at the same time. The panels visually just flow nicely and the action is very well paced throughout the issue. Most of the inks are done by Jose Marzan and he really helps with that more “simple” style, as his inks are very sharp and enhance the pencils but do not add much more detail than what is already there. When the inks change over to Andy Owens for pages 13-17 it is noticeable but not that jarring. Owens has a little bolder ink style and adds a little more detail into characters faces, but it is not completely out of left field, and, while noticeable, it is not jarring and it does not take the reader out of the story. The colors by Mat Lopes are fantastic; he really sets that Batman 66 feel with his color selection in those first few page and then he balances that out nicely with some darker tones colors in the present day storyline.
I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed this issue, especially jumping on at the end of a story arc. Hope Larson did a fantastic job of conveying the story and getting the major points across throughout the issue and just made it a really enjoyable read; I actually did not even know this was the finale to a story arc until the final page with the credits, for all I knew this was a one-shot story until then, which is a great credit to Hope Larson in my eyes. The art is wonderful and really helps enhance the storytelling with great pacing and cartooning all around. Batgirl #17 was just a good comic book and with the next story being entitled “Home for the Holidays” you bet I am sticking around!
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