BATGIRL #40, out this week from DC Comics, finally brings our two leads face to face in a dramatic moment. Where does Batgirl end and Oracle begin? And how much of herself did Barbara put into both personas? These questions and more are explored within these pages.
We’ve seen Barbara Gordon take up several different mantles since she first appeared in Detective Comics #359. Her two most iconic, of course, are Batgirl and Oracle. But what happens when these two dominant personalities clash? And what will it cost Barbara to resolve the tension?
Batgirl #40 continues the tie-in adventures from DC’s Year of the Villain, and it does so with brilliant writing and intensity. This tie-in doesn’t hesitate to pull Batgirl’s past to the forefront or make her pay for past decisions. There is no hiding from this story.
Also, for any of those who are hesitating, even though this is a tie-in issue, you don’t need to be following along with the main YOTV story in order to understand what Barbara faces here. So go ahead and pick up this issue. It’s worth the read.
Batgirl #40 proves that a plot can be multitasking. Is it a tie-in issue? Absolutely. But it’s also so much more. There are multiple threads twisting throughout this issue, creating a complex tale that only Batgirl can unravel.
Cecil Castellucci’s writing has created a whole new level of danger for Barbara Gordon. She’s used to being physically intimidated and assaulted. She’s even had to face threats from her family and her past. But she’s never quite had to face something of her own making. Not like this.
In many ways, she is the Oracle, and the Oracle is her. So seeing her legacy turned into something foul and dangerous is surely not a good feeling. At best, she’ll feel violated for what has been done to her Oracle. At worst, she’ll blame herself and see this as all the evil within herself. And there can officially be no doubt about Oracle, not after the acts she committed within these pages.
In that sense, Castellucci has clearly woven a fine net with which to trap Batgirl. The fight has only just begun, and yet Burnside is already paying the price. Readers are left wondering how far this plot is going to push Barbara, and what the cost will be in the end.
The artwork behind Batgirl #40 was a perfect fit – just take a look at the cover and you’ll already have a good idea of the danger Batgirl is facing. Despite the nighttime setting, this issue was brightly lit – and given the source of light, that isn’t great. But our artists did an excellent job of constantly reminding us of the source of the light, and what that could mean for our heroine.
The fight scenes in this issue are another element worth talking about – especially how Oracle looked. She’s finally starting to show off some of her new abilities, and the artists rendered them in creative and distinct ways.
Carmine Di Giandomenico was the lead artist for this issue, and his work shined especially bright during the action – Batgirl’s mad rush to get there in time, a desperate battle, things like that. Meanwhile, Jordie Bellaire provided the coloring, and her use of colors added a sense of foreshadowing and foreboding that could not be overlooked. It was a constant feeling. And finally, Andworld Design did the lettering for this issue. As always, they did an excellent job making the characters’ voices distinct throughout.
It’s hard to believe how far this plot has come in such a short amount of time. And only time will tell how much more Batgirl is going to have to put up with until it’s all said and done. Still, Batgirl #40 was a tense read, showing us just how dangerous Oracle as become. And just how much more dangerous she can potentially end up being.