After a successful (and attention-grabbing) debut six-issue run, Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr are back for more “Batgirl” post-“Convergence.” With “Batgirl” #41, the creators spend a good amount of time adjusting to changes in the status quo; while the end result will probably be something fun, it’s a little slow-going for the moment.
“Batgirl” #41 has two big changes that it needs to address. The first is from within the title itself, as Frankie continues to help Batgirl remotely, in a position that may-or-may-not finally get a title that rhymes with coracle. They’re still working out the kinks in the relationship here, but it’s nice to see someone else not only knowing Barbara’s secret identity but being to help in a way that pre-“Flashpoint” Barbara herself managed for many years.
The bigger change, of course, is Barbara’s father Jim Gordon becoming the new Batman, as seen in “Batman” #41. It’s a pretty big shift for the character and there’s no way for Stewart and Fletcher to simply gloss over it. Instead, the duo faces it directly, and not just with Barbara being horrified at the loss of her father’s mustache. It creates an interesting power balance, with Jim still unaware of his daughter’s secret life, while Barbara now knows that the new person inside the Batsuit has orders to bring her in as she holds in her guilt about keeping her own mouth shut. It’s the sort of situation that’s going to play out well in the months to come but, because it’s all being set up here, the pace moves much slower than normal.
It’s not all talking, though. Livewire, the character created for the “Superman Adventures” animated series back in the day, gets to make another print appearance here and — while the fight’s just getting started — it’s a good first round. Stewart and Fletcher make Livewire suitably dangerous, and it’s good to have Batgirl’s rogue’s gallery built up a little more. With Livewire’s electrical abilities, she can disrupt some of Batgirl’s technology and, with only a handful of appearances in comics to date, there’s lots of room for Stewart and Fletcher to let the character grow.
Tarr continues to draw the comic in a fun, cartoonish manner. With Joel Gomez assisting on backgrounds and Serge LaPointe providing colors, the comic often looks like actual animation cels, like when Frankie crashes into Livewire and the physical impact looks wonderfully fluid, even as the panel explodes in vivid blues and oranges. Add in little moments like Barbara’s face radiating a combination of shock and distress when Jim tells her that he’s been ordered to “find and arrest the vigilantes of Gotham,” and it’s good looking as always.
“Batgirl” #41 is probably the slowest-moving issue with the current creative team to date, but it’s also understandable with so much to deal with in order to move forward. Now that we’re eased back into the thick of it, hopefully future issues will go back to the peppier pace that we had in their first six issues. Overall, it’s not bad at all, but it’s not up there with the sheer fun that we saw earlier.