Writer: Hope Larson
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
As much as I loved the international flair of the first few issues of this series, the coming home element of the “Beyond Burnside” conclusion works very well. Barbara’s globetrotting adventure couldn’t last forever and even though this is set mostly on a plane, it’s still action-packed.
To be honest, it would have been hard for me to not really like this issue simply because it combines two of my favorite female DC characters: Batgirl and Poison Ivy. Despite having numerous run-ins in the past, there’s rarely been a focus on the dynamic between the two of them. A dynamic that’s obviously completely different from the way Ivy interacts with the dark knight.
It’s also an interesting situation given DC’s recent shift to move Ivy away from the traditional role of villainess to more of an environmental vigilante. Even in this issue, it’s hard to pinpoint her exact motivations or believe everything she says. Ivy’s not necessarily the bad guy in this situation, but even if it wasn’t her intention to attack the plane, she created the thing that did it.
This is a level of complexity I like to see in Batgirl. This is definitely something I want to see continue—although the characterization of Barbara usually delivers in this regard. In general, this issue offers many things I want more of when it comes to Batgirl. It’s a great self-contained story, but it also focuses on Batgirl and her interactions with Poison Ivy.
More than anything, that’s what I want to see more of. I’d love to see self-contained interactions between Barbara and Harley, Barbara and Wonder Woman, or Barbara and just about any female characters of the DC universe.
As for the art, Rafael Albuquerque continues to deliver on pretty much every level. His art is dynamic, stylistic and—above all—emotive. That’s the thing that I really think has been key to the success of this book so far.
Yes, the action sequences look impressive. But it’s also full of heart. You can gauge everything Barbara—or anyone—is feeling at any moment. Comics are primarily a visual medium and it’s incredibly important to be able to convey the story and characters without relying on narration and dialogue. So far, Albuquerque and Hope Larson have seemed almost completely in synch.
I have no idea where Batgirl is headed next, but this whole opening arc has been an impressive and accessible debut. I’m on board, wherever it goes from here.