Batgirl #41 Review

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There is a new Batman in town and this Dark Knight is directly tied to Barbara Gordon. This fact alone makes the meeting between Batgirl and the new Batman something I am glad we are getting it right away. Will Batman and Batgirl play nice with all the changes that have happened in Gotham City post-Endgame? Let’s find out with Batgirl #41.

Creative Team

Writers: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher

Artist: Babs Tarr

Background Assistant: Joel Gomez

Colorist: Serge Lapointe

Story Rating:  7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Batgirl walks into Szavpost Estate, an abandoned mansion, as part of her investigation into the mysterious drain in the city’s power grid. She soon finds a opening in the floor and witness what looks to be a mysterious group in cloaks.

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The leader of the people in cloaks announces that they are finally ready to unleash their purifying weapon (a missile launcher) on Gotham City. Hearing all of that is enough for Batgirl to attack the group. She makes quick work of most of the people in cloaks.

Just as she is about to finish of the last of them Batman burst into the room, much to Batgirl’s surprise. Batman tells Batgirl that he is there to arrest her. Batman is attacked by the cloak people’s leader but he is able to take him and the rest of the group out quickly. As Batman does this Batgirl makes her escape.

The next morning Barbara tells her roommate Frankie all about her encounter with the new Batman. Frankie tries to get out her thoughts on the new Batman but is too tired to talk. Barbara tells Frankie that it may be better for Frankie not to continue to involve herself in Barbara’s Batgirl work. Before they can finish talking Jim Gordon calls out to the girls.

Barbara let’s her dad in and is surprised to see that Jim new youthful look that includes a shaved head and lack of mustache.

Batgirl #41 (3)
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Later that day Jim and Barbara walk through a nearby park. Barbara wonders what her dad has to say to her since he always treats her to ice cream when he has something big to say. After a quick walk down memory lane Jim reveals to Barbara that he is the new Batman. Barbara is shocked to hear this for multiple reasons but Jim says he has to do this to protect everyone in Gotham, including Barbara. Jim then says that while he swore that he wouldn’t reveal his secret to anyone but he couldn’t keep something so big from Barbara.

Back at the Szavpost Estate something comes out of the pod that the cloaked group where using to drain Gotham’s power.

At a local arcade Barbara and Frankie vaguely talk about Jim’s new job and Luke Fox opening up a new office in Burnside. Before they can finish there talk about getting jobs Livewire attacks the city and causes a massive power outage. Barbara uses the power outage to change into her Batgirl gear in secret.

Once she sees that it is Livewire attacking the city Batgirl remembers Batman (Bruce Wayne sometime before Endgame) talking about Livewire’s recent status. After Batgirl says Livewire’s real name out loud Livewire says she remembers everything she forgot and proceeds to unleash a massive electrical attack.

Frankie suddenly tackles Livewire out of knowhere, burning her shoulder in the process. Before Livewire can attack Frankie, Batgirl attacks with some foam bombs which have no effect on Livewire.

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The new Batsymbol suddenly shines over Batgirl and Livewire. Batman appears and quickly subdues Livewire. Batman confronts Batgirl and once again tells her that she is under arrest. End of issue.

The Good: The first meeting between Batgirl and the new Batman went as well as we could’ve expected it to go, which is not very well. The awkwardness of Barbara Gordon meeting her dad on the field in his new role was made better by the story choices that Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher made. These story choices kept Batgirl #41 from being a predictable comic book, which it could have easily been if you judged it just by the cover.

What I liked most about Batgirl #41 was the fact that there was no sense of wasting time. Stewart and Fletcher immediately got the initial meeting of Batgirl and the new Batman out of the way early on in this issue. This allowed for a more natural progression of the story when Jim Gordon revealed his new job as the Batman. Knocking out these two story beats early showed us that Stewart and Fletcher understand that the fun of the dynamic with the new Batman isn’t the mystery of who is behind the metal cowl. The fun that is to be had with the new Batman is how the fact that it is Jim Gordon, who has direct personal connection to the BatFamily.

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These ramifications hit most at home for Barbara, who is still adjusting to her life in Gotham City’s Burnside district. Seeing how Barbara tried to hide her discomfort in her dad’s new role was great to read. Jim really did a nice job indirectly laying on the old parental guilt trip on Barbara when he talked about why he revealed his identity as the new Batman. These lines of dialogue add to how hard it will now be for Barbara to maintain a barrier between her life as a graduate student who is also the daughter of the new Batman as well as having her own secret as Batgirl.

Barbara’s reaction to her dad’s new job also added to how we view the new and improved Jim Gordon. As we saw in Batman #41 recently, Jim does look like he has de-aged with his new haircut and lack of facial hair. It makes you wonder how much of Jim’s change is just physical and how much of it is mental. The more we see of Jim in his Batman armor the more I expect that line of physical and mental changes to blur together, which should make the drama between Jim and Barbara that much more interesting.

Aside from how they explored Barbara’s relationship with her dad, I continue to enjoy how Stewart and Fletcher are finding new ways to challenge Barbara as Batgirl. Having a Superman villain like Livewire get involved with Batgirl showed us the difference in how a hero has to handle fighting a super and norman human being. Livewire’s presence also gave us a chance to see how competent Jim has become as Batman with how easily he was able to subdue her with his armor’s tech.

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Once again, Babs Tarr artwork continues to be a fantastic part of this series that elevates everything going on with the story. I can’t say enough about how great Tarr’s artwork is in this issue. As soon as you open up Batgirl #41 you instantly recognize the artwork as being unique to this series. And this issue in particular gave Tarr plenty of different settings to work with as we saw Barbara in a haunted house, her house, a local park, an arcade and the streets of Gotham. Each setting gave Tarr a chance to inject even more personality to what was going on around Barbara.

I particularly enjoyed how Tarr drew Barbara’s facial reaction to her dad’s new look and revelation that he is the new Batman. The look on Barbara’s face was priceless during these scenes.

The Bad: The only fault I have against this issue is how unprepared Barbara seemed to be as Batgirl when facing off against Livewire. Stewart and Fletcher clearly showed us in the flashback scene with Bruce that Barbara knew of threats like Livewire. I would expect that with this knowledge Barbara would be better prepared to fight a meta-human like Livewire. And throwing foam bombs made Barbara look like an amateur compared to other BatFamily members.

Overall: Batigrl #41 had plenty of things to enjoy about it that one small gripe against the story couldn’t ruin the fun of this issue. Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher did not waste anytime in drawing out the mystery of who the new Batman. This allowed us to see how Barbara is really going to handle the fact that her dad is the new Batman and that he is actually hunting down all vigilantes. This development adds greater interest in the new status quo in Gotham City. Having the fabulous artwork from Babs Tarr does not hurt either as she elevated all of the dialogue given to the characters, particularly during the scenes between Barbara and Jim. All together, Batgirl #41 was a great issue that helped to increase my interest in everything going on in Gotham City.