It's happily ever after for Alysia and Jo in "Batgirl" #45. However, just because it's her best friend's wedding doesn't mean the other obligations in Babs' life take a day off. As she runs around performing her maid of honor duties, the other complications in her life decide to stop by, too. As a result, though the wedding is billed as the main attraction here, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher have ended up with an issue that's more about romance in general: all its beginnings, in-betweens, what-ifs and endings. Babs Tarr and colorist Serge LePointe's airy, jubilant artwork perfectly sets the tone for Alysia's big day, and the action scenes are as spry and natural as ever. Though it's a touch too quick and crowded, "Batgirl" #45 is another satisfying installment in this series.
Tarr and LePointe go full-Pinterest on this wedding, and the resulting issue is lovely to look at. Tarr peoples the party with sprightly, flowing figures who weave around each other in effortless formalwear, and LePointe's lavender, blush and sunlight color scheme gives everything a romantic hue. The characters have rosy glows to their complexions, and even the sky is dreamy with fluffy clouds and valentine hues. However, Dick's window-sill arrival scene has to be my favorite panel. Tarr absolutely nailed his oh-hello-there facial expression.
Admittedly, readers expecting Alysia's wedding to be the focal point may be disappointed. Babs actually spends most of this issue dealing with other goings-on: repairing dresses, trying to be a good date to Luke and handling the surprise arrival of Dick Grayson. This makes for a fun, fast-paced story, but it also means the excitement and importance of the main event don't get much space. These are busy pages, and there are really only two panels -- when Alysia first shows off her wedding dress and when she and Jo share their kiss-the-bride smooch -- where the pacing allows the reader to pause and take it all it in. Even the vows take place on a full, busy spread. Now, this speed is pretty par for the course in Babs' new Burnside life (and, let's be honest, with the way weddings can feel for members of the bridal party), but it did make me wish the creative team had one or two more pages of breathing room.
Despite this, the creative team finds time to deal with surprisingly mature and complex questions about moving on. In a reversal of pretty much every romantic comedy climax, Dick's over-the-top gambit to win Barbara back fails. Instead, she asks him to respect her and deal with the consequences of his action, and Dick accepts her refusal with a simple "Yeah, you're right." Barreling in and refusing to accept a "no" is not a sign of fierce devotion here; it's a sign of disrespect, and Dick comes to understand that. This scene also creates a lovely transition. Babs leaves behind a romantic narrative that just doesn't work in order to go celebrate Alysia's fairytale one -- and perhaps start a new one for herself.
All told, "Batgirl" #45 is an adorable diversion. There's so much to love in this series, but there's also a little too much going on. I'd like to see "Batgirl" take a little more time on its many subplots going forward, but -- much like its protagonist -- sometimes it has too much going on to stop running.