Isn’t it great when everything comes together perfectly? That’s definitely the case with “Batgirl” #40, as Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr wrap up a lot of their opening plot lines even as they look to the future. In the case of this comic, they not only do so rather neatly but in an immensely satisfying manner.
All the hints about Batgirl’s mysterious foe — which were revealed in “Secret Origins” earlier this month — pan out as Batgirl has to fight a digital version of herself that’s gone off the deep end. Digital Batgirl has, in many ways, a perfect emotionless logic routine running; the conclusions that it jumps to make sense from a computer standpoint, even as the reality is that they’re hideous choices to make. What’s nice about “Batgirl” #40 is that Stewart and Fletcher have Batgirl win not just through some sort of miraculous typing but rather through teamwork. The relationships that Batgirl has built up all come into play here, and it’s only by working together that they save both Burnside and the rest of the world.
It’s the relationship part of “Batgirl” #40 that makes it so satisfying. Batgirl has grown a lot in the Burnside issues, and her moment of confrontation with her digital past makes it especially clear. When she says, “I’ve moved on, made friends, and had time to heal. I’m past all the darkness,” it’s addressing the readership as much as her foe. This is a brighter, happier era for the title, and those friendships are a core portion of it. Her supporting cast members aren’t targets to be kidnapped or threatened like you might see in other superhero comics; here, they’re allies with advice, ideas and genuine assistance both in and out of the caped life.
The art in “Batgirl” #40 looks as good as ever. Stewart’s layouts provide a strong framework for Tarr and Maris Wicks to work within. The little panels that focus on people’s expressions as Batgirl explains to Digital Batgirl who would be destroyed is a prime example; it’s effective as it shows all the varied faces, and Tarr and Wicks make each panel its own distinct look. When the celebration at the concert finally happens, looking at everyone dancing brings a smile to your face; the golden hues over the people both physically and emotionally brighten up the scene, and Tarr once again gives us lots of believable people who aren’t all clones of one another.
Fletcher, Stewart and Tarr set up lots of things to come in “Batgirl” #40. Not only do we get some more meat in Batgirl’s relationship with Burnside’s law enforcement (and one police officer in particular), but we have the official launching point for June’s “Black Canary” #1 as well as what appears to be the setup for an all-new Oracle to be working with Batgirl. I’m already eager to see what’s next and you should be, too. “Batgirl” #40 delivers a great comic by a great group of creators. Superhero comics don’t get much better than this.