Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Penciller: Babs Tarr
Issue #46 is a strong return to form for the comic and a pretty classic Batgirl story overall. Barbara’s dealing with the amount of stress in her life and everything she has on her plate while, at the same time, taking on a refreshingly small case. In this issue, she’s just trying to save the residents of a single neighborhood from being evicted. It’s not a giant monster or cosmic war, but it’s just as compelling once the story gets going. These are people that Batgirl makes the promise to help.
There are some great, heroic moments too, especially with Batgirl declaring this her neighborhood and the team-up with Spoiler. I’ll admit, though, that after being used to having seen Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, it’s a bit unfortunate to hear their canon relationship boil down to Barbara saying that she’s met Stephanie before, and that’s it. Even after a huge event to fix it, continuity just gets more confusing.
Still, I like that there aren’t a lot of larger ties to the DC Universe in this issue, because it feels like it’s self-contained. This is what I want to see more of in this series, Batgirl defending Burnside and its residents. The emphasis the issue puts on how hard she’s trying to do that just makes the ending all the more impactful, which really impressed me.
I would have liked if Frankie kept her superhero plans from Barbara a little longer, but it is nice that they’re still teasing it out. Barbara’s agreed to take her on as a partner—which is a big step, actually, as she still needs to train—but she still doesn’t have a name or a costume. It’s a gradual transformation and I think that will keep people interested.
Overall, this is a strong issue with a better balance of action and character than we’ve seen in the book for a bit. Any good comic should remind you why you love that character and this one did that, for me.