Review: Batgirl #42

by Nat Brehmer
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Picking up right from the end of the previous issue’s cliffhanger, in which Batman declares that Batgirl is under arrest. Don’t expect much of a fight between them, though, as that issue gets resolved pretty quickly. The rest of the issue is devoted to Batgirl’s first team-up with the new Batman in order to bring down Livewire.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff going into this as well. The fact that Batgirl knows that he’s her father, but he doesn’t know who she is, isn’t overplayed. Or underplayed, as it could just as easily have been. Instead, it realistically looks into Gordon’s need to protect his daughter and her feeling that she needs to prove to him that she is more than capable of handling herself. Even now, with her in costume and not even knowing that she’s his daughter, Gordon (as Batman) expresses a need to protect her.

This issue was also the first time I’ve gotten to see the new Batman fight and it was nice to see Batgirl showing him the ropes. It builds to an inversion of their relationship. She’s the one giving him orders and showing him the ropes and she very clearly loves it. I also admit that part of the reason I warmed to the new Batman in this issue is that he spent so much of it outside of the armor. The new Iron-Bat looking suit takes a lot of getting used to. It’s a robotic suit, Gordon’s the commissioner, so it sort of makes him an actual RoboCop and I still can’t tell if that was intentional or not. I’m guessing it will prove its usefulness as we see it in action more.

But the one he wears underneath that has heavy echoes of Keaton’s Batman, so it wins me over for nostalgia value if nothing else. Their interactions are great, this is a new Batman, but one who wants very much to take the place of the old as though nothing has changed. It’s nothing against Bruce, in fact it makes a lot of sense for Gordon’s character. He’s so structured, he doesn’t want anything to change.

His defense of the extended Bat-family is also neat to see. Gordon’s made a lot of cases for why Gotham needs Batman over the years, but not so much for the cast of costumed crusaders that surround him. It will be very interesting to see his interactions with them as he continues to step into his role as Batman.

Seeing Livewire’s origin explained through a YouTube video works surprisingly well. It could easily have failed, not just for being aggressively modern (because it’s not, YouTube’s been a thing for some time now) but more for the fact that it’s hard to depict a video in the comic book format. Luckily, it’s done so well that you actually feel as though you’re watching it while reading.

This issue goes a little deeper than the previous and ultimately works out better for it. Given how well this first team-up worked out, Barbara’s further interactions with the Batman will be something to see.

Score: 7/10

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