Review: Batgirls #17

“From Hell’s Heart” – Part One
Writers: Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad
Artists: Robbi Rodriguez
Color Artist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Becca Carey
Review by Fay Clark

The Batgirls have finally gotten their man, and have somewhat calmed down. When last we saw them, they were recovering from an epic family reunion and a crazy tea party. Nothing’s ever going to be completely calm in their lives, however, for now it seems to be the most chill out time they’ve had since their move. Let’s see how long that lasts, in Batgirls #17.

Murder on the Dance Floor

Cass and Steph having a rager on the dancefloor, and living life to the fullest, is something I’ve wanted to see for ages. Okay, not exactly that, but giving the Batgirls some down time has definitely been on the list. Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad have been consistently throwing danger after drama at the Batgirls. Although I know this is a comic book, and an action packed one at that, I always feel so bad that the girls never get some relaxation time.

Seeing Steph and Cass bonding outside of danger and death is amazing. Cloonan and Conrad have clearly found it in their hearts to put a spotlight on this in this issueTrauma bonding’s good and all, as it can create strong and fast ties between people, but seeing the girls out and about in the world maskless is just the kind of reminder the reader needs that they have two sides to them. They’re not always up on high rooftops on patrol, but are actual young adults with social lives. I think this has been missing recently in the major chaos we have had.

Cloonan and Conrad have this amazing way of bring back characters. They don’t need to re-establish who they are or any previous interactions the girls have had with them. Even if you miss an issue or two (though why would you?) you’re never out of the loop. From the context clues and the way the Batgirls interact with characters it is easy to pick up who they know and who has been around for a while. This is a fantastic way to keep the story moving without leaving anyone in the dark.

R²

Well look who’s back! The second I opened this issue, I didn’t even have to look at who the artist was, I just knew from the style. I love that Robbi Rodriguez is back and working with his alliteration counterpart Rico Renzi. Honestly what a team we have. Some of my favourite panels in Batgirls #17 are in the first few pages. I can feel the emotions coming off the page when I looked at Steph and Cass, and later on a few of the reoccurring characters.

The emotions were palpable and made me feel a sort of release, I lowered my shoulders and took a deep breath the same time as the characters did. Robbi’s so good at making you unconsciously mirror the characters on the page, because he gives them such effortless human emotion. Mix that in with the amazing tonal, color palette of Rico Renzi and you get a comic book that is a pleasure for the eyes.

Conclusion

Once again we’re back in the “What, When, Why, Where, How” of it all. Cloonan and Conrad really know how to set up a story arc. The mystery and the comradery have already pulled me back in. Batgirls #17 mixes the normal and vigilante without missing a beat. The cliff hangers are always epic and I still have no idea where any of this is going. I wouldn’t miss it.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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