“Son Of Penguin” was a solid arc that started slow but ended up adding something unique to the world around Batgirl that Hope Larson continues to build since DC Rebirth started. The previous issue of Batgirl was a strong one-shot story that showed off Barbara’s detective skills to tackle the problem at hand. It’s in these one-shot stories that Larson has delivered the strongest issues of this Batgirl series. That’s why going into Batgirl #13 I am very intrigued into what Larson will do with a quick team-up between Batgirl and Catwoman. Will it deliver like previous one-shot stories in the series? Let’s find out with Batgirl #13.
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Colorist: Eva De La Cruz
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A girl named Esme confronts a kid bike gang and demands to know where “Rookie” is. The kids decide to surround Esme.
Batgirl shows up and intimidates the kids to run away.
Batgirl asks Esme if she needs help finding Rookie, who turns out to be a dog celebrity dog on Pixtagraph that lives at the local fire department but has gone missing.
Esme tells Batgirl that how she figured out that the warehouse they are in was Rookie’s original home and decided to start investigating there. Batgirl offers to take her home but Esme doesn’t think Batgirl knows where she lives. Batgirl reveals that Barbara Gordon has talked about her, much to Esme excitement and trusts Batgirl enough to take her home.
As they walk out the warehouse Batgirl and Esme spot Catwoman. Esme convinces Batgirl to take her to follow Catwoman so Batgirl doesn’t lose her.
Batgirl and Esme follow Catwoman and see her showing some alley cats a napkin. Esme sneezes loud enough for Catwoman to hear her.
Batgirl and Catwoman start fighting. During the fight Catwoman reveals that her cat Isis is missing and she is looking for her. They stop fighting as they both are looking for missing pets.
Catwoman reveals that Isis has her own Pixtagraph account. Batgirl makes a joke about Catwoman having a social media account for her pet. Catwoman says Isis is her best friend and almost starts to fight Batgirl but Esme calms the two down.
They all decide to team-up to find Rookie and Isma. Catwoman leads them to a pet store where they try to get some alley cats to pick up Isis scent.
The cats lead the three to an apartment. They break in and look for Isis and Rookie and find them locked up.
After freeing both of them Velvet Tiger is spotted sitting down in the room. She has her cronies fight Batgirl and Catwoman, overwhelming the two with their numbers. Esme helps them out by releasing the other animals from their cages.
Catwoman leaves with Isis as the police are about to enter the apartment.
A little later the fire department arrives at the apartment and thank Esme for helping them find Rookie. They offer to let Esme take a picture with Rookie but she does not want her mom to find out what she did. Instead Esme and Batgirl take a picture with Rookie, only showing their feet and legs.
Batgirl takes Esme back home. Esme says her mom wouldn’t notice if she went on adventures. Batgirl tucks Esme into bed and says that as her friend she knows Esme’s mom would worry about her and is strong. Esme understand what Batgirl says and says she’ll think about it.
Batgirl wishes Esme a good night and swings away for to finish up her patrol for the night. End of issue.
The Good: As soon as I finished reading Batgirl #13 the first word that came to mind was “wow that was a fun reading experience.” Hope Larson gave personal stakes that drove Batgirl and Catwoman together and take down a threat to both of them. Centering the story around missing pets also gets an instant reaction for those who have dogs, cats or some other form of a pet in their lives.
Having the story be about beloved pets was a nice way to give readers who have a soft spot for cats and dogs, like myself, something to relate to. Esme and Catwoman both having some anxiety over their missing dog and cat, respectively, that they love gave them them their own respective sub-plots to invest in. Their personal reasons to get Batgirl to help them made the story feel bigger even though it is something that is just taking place in a small corner of the DC Universe.
The personal stakes for Esme and Catwoman gave both characters a reason to get Batgirl involved. The interaction Batgirl has with each one of them is what made Batgirl #13 stand out. Batgirl doing her best to make sure Esme did not do anything reckless highlighted how Larson is slowly morphing Barbara to be much more like a mentor. The advice Batgirl gives Esme throughout this issue showed how much she understands what her standing as a hero means to the next generation of kids.
As for Catwoman, Larson did a great job playing up the animosity between the two. Batgirl making a joke about Catwoman having a social media account for her cat was a good way to establish where they normally stand with each other. At the same time, the joke worked to bring out the fact that Catwoman does see Isis as her best friend and won’t let anyone make a joke at her expense. This reaction by Catwoman gave Larson the opportunity to shift their relationship a bit as both Batgirl and Catwoman had to be serious in finding the missing pets rather than going back and forth with witty banter.
Velvet Tiger being the one responsible for all the missing pets was a good use of this minor villain. This storyline showed Velvet Tiger as a straight up villain who only wants to cause mayhem. In a time where we have a lot of villains trying to play in the gray area it is fun to have a classic villain like Velvet Tiger doing something like this. The way Esme helped Batgirl and Catwoman take out Velvet Tiger was a fun, light-hearted way to end the fight quickly.
Inaki Miranda helped get across the fun tone Larson was going for with this team-up story involving Batgirl and Catwoman. Along with Eva De La Cruz coloring, Miranda was able to keep a dialogue heavy issue moving forward in a brisk pace with the art nicely complementing Larson’s dialogue. And even though she was defeated relatively easily, it was fun to see how Miranda drew Velvet Tiger to have an uncaring aura to her. It made the fact that Velvet Tiger’s downfall were the pets she stole even funnier.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batgirl #13 is delivered a fun, intimate one-shot story that fans of the series will enjoy. Hope Larson nails the dialogue between Batgirl and Catwoman as they worked on a case that was deeply personal to the latter. Involving a young girl that looks up to Batgirl shows how far our main character has come. The ending will leave fans of the series with a big smile on their face and that is exactly what we all want from a comic book we read on monthly basis to accomplish.