BATGIRL #49, available Tuesday from DC Comics, brings fans ever closer to the end of Barbara Gordon’s series (for now). It’s also bringing us closer to the truth, as Babs tracks the mysterious Batgirl killer.
The Joker War may have concluded, but it’s clear that Babs is not going to be getting a break anytime soon. She survived what the Joker had intended for her, but now she’s up against a whole different killer.
This killer is dressing up women to look like Batgirl, and then killing them. Though perhaps not in that order, that is harder to be certain of. What is certain is that this killer has a type, and both Batgirl and Babs fit it.
The last issue brought with it that dramatic revelation, and now it’s time to see how Babs deals with it all. Not to mention how Gotham responds to the idea of Batgirl being dead (and identified, as far as they know).
Batgirl #49 was written by Cecil Castellucci, and you can see how carefully she wove this web. With only so many issues left to wrap up Batgirl’s latest adventures, she’s decided to go out on a bang. One that is quintessentially Batgirl – and Barbara Gordon.
It’s safe to say that this is a pretty dark issue, what with the death of Batgirl looming over everyone’s heads. Once again, we’re facing the trauma that seems to prevalent to Batgirl. Yet it almost feels like we’re on the outside watching in. In this instance, that includes Batgirl as well. It’s an odd twist to that scenario, yet it’s almost refreshing in a way.
Another surprise for this plot arc is the sheer level of family drama going on within the pages. The Gordon family has never been a normal family, but lately, they’ve been worse than ever. Each and every surviving member of the family has their own baggage, and it seems like none of them are capable of forgiving the others.
That may feel like it’s irrelevant to the death of Batgirl, but it is so essential here. In a way, it’s setting the scene, for there’s no doubt that this hunt is a symbol of the baggage that Batgirl herself carries with her. And the enemies she’s created along the way.
The drama also laid the groundwork for the dramatic conclusion to this issue. It’s hard to be certain how Babs will react to what has been done. Or how others will react to her, but the odds are good that it isn’t going to go well. In a way, this feels like we’re heading towards a natural conclusion to the series, which is appropriate.
Naturally, the artwork in Batgirl #49 is every bit as daring and bold as the writing itself. However, it shouldn’t surprise fans to hear that the artwork gets a little dark as well. Not literally – the scenes are crisp and clear. It’s merely the scenes portrayed that carry with them a darker tone.
Robbi Rodriguez paved the way for this issue, creating a variety of scenes and emotions – all of which are pivotal to this plot in particular. The implications made within this issue wouldn’t have had the same impact without Rodriguez’s artwork and scenes to make the truth hit home.
Jordie Bellaire was responsible for the colors, which are a striking balance of bright and dark. The shadows within intentionally obfuscate the truth, while the bright colors seem to remind readers of the lives being lost.
Andworld Design provided the lettering, and it was so carefully done here. There’s a lot going on in these pages, from all the dialogue to the running thoughts – not just of Babs, but of her family as well. Yet it is never difficult to tell who is speaking or thinking. Given what happens here, the distinction of characters was vital.
Batgirl #49 is setting up for a potentially dark and foreboding conclusion to Batgirl‘s series. Yet it also feels right, in a way. The themes and twists that the series is currently dealing with. It all feels right at home in Babs’ story.