Review: Batgirls #19 (Final Issue)

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

Well, it’s finally here. I can’t believe that the day has come where we have to say so long to our girls. There was uproar in the previous issue, so will the first ladies of crime-fighting finally be able to take down the sniper and save their city, in Batgirls #19?

Batgirls Forever

Thinking that this will be the last time that I get to praise Becky Cloonan and Michael W Conrad on their writing is upsetting… so, let’s make it count. WOW. AMAZING. FANTASTIC. GROUNDBREAKING. Okay, I think you get the picture. Cloonan and Conrad have always worked so well together on this series, and this final issue’s no different.

Everything flows so well; the character relationships that we get to see grow over the series are stronger than ever. We’ve seen Steph and Cass swap bodies and have a deeper understanding of each other, both of them relying on their older and wiser sister Barbara. All of them at some point have carried the mantle of Batgirl, and this is what ties them together. What they’ve been through and the ties to the Batfamily are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Girls

Seeing Steph get to be her smart-talking, sarcastic self in Batgirls #19 was a pleasure. She really lets loose in this issue, something I think we have been build up to for a while. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve seen some amazing lines from her in previous issues, but Stephanie Brown’s fully herself now, and seems so at peace with the Batgirl she has grown into.

Cass has taken of somewhat of a leadership role in the team. Seeing her take charge and unequivocally trust someone else to have her back, no questions asked, is such a leap from who she once was. Seeing her grow into a bookish, trusting leader has been the ultimate joy. Cassandra Cain is not a weapon, but a friend, sister, and an amazing heroine. This is how she has become the best version of Batgirl she can be.

Last, but most certainly not least… the one that started it all. Barbara has changed so much over the course of this series, I often find myself wondering how much more she can grow (although, if you’re reading Nightwing… and you MUST, you’ll se her there). She’s the best “tech-support” you could ever want. You always want her watching your back. Barbara Gordon has become a mentor, older sister, and one of THE BEST female heroes out there. She’s realized that, not only does she have things to teach people, but she can still learn things from them too. Once a Batgirl, always a Batgirl.

Mixing Styles

I love looking at Robbi Rodriguez’s work. There are several points in this issue where I can tell Steph and Cass have learned from each other. Robbi does an amazing job of showcasing this in Steph’s fighting style. She’s always been a very blunt “kick now and ask questions later” kind of girl, but this month it looks like she’s picked up a few pointers from Cass’ fighting style. Rodrigues has made it look more elegant and streamlined… a little more ninja, if you will.

There’s a particular panel that I kept coming back to, in a fight scene between Steph and a baddie. I love this new style she’s incorporating into her repertoire. Robbi and Rico Renzi work fabulously together. The way they mix their art to make everything flow is so cool to see. Renzi uses a lot of different color in this issue, it reminds me of the very first Batgirls issue. Gotham’s such a dingy place most of the time, so seeing Rico inject some color into it is a refreshing change of pace.

Conclusion

I’m not sure how I’ll get through the months without my girls. I’m so sad this series is coming to a close, but I wouldn’t change my time with them for anything. The amazing writing and all of the artists we’ve had, have added so much to these characters and story.

This will be a series I will keep coming back to, as there are such wonderful feel good moments mixed in with the awesome butt-kicking battle sequences. Batgirls #19 has left us with an amazing ending to a great series. I would like to thank everyone who worked on this and made it such a pleasure to read and review.

Now, for the last time, here’s my rating!

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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