Batgirl #50

"Batgirl" #50 doesn't just wrap up the current storyline that pits Batgirl against the Fugue; it's also a turning point for the series in general. Based on the upcoming solicitations, it's the final issue for co-writer Cameron Stewart and artist Babs Tarr, though co-writer Brenden Fletcher will stick around on the final two issues to help transition the character into Hope Larson and Rafael Albuquerque's run. As far as send-offs go, this hits its mark rather well.

Stewart, Fletcher, Tarr and company do a nice job pulling together a lot of the characters -- both heroes and villains -- that populated the book since they took over with "Batgirl" #35. Not only is it fun to see them all, it gives the Fugue's plan some added backbone. These villains are all known quantities who have a real beef with Batgirl, and it makes sense to see these allies come to her aid. The latter is especially important, because the friendships Batgirl cultivated are a good balance to her fake friendship with the Fugue; the difference in the relationship she had with Greg versus the others is hard to miss. Stewart and Fletcher also carefully pace the fight in a nice way, putting a series of obstacles between Batgirl and company and their ultimate goal. The various X vs. Y videogame-styled splashes also serve as good mini-section headings and add an extra level of drama to the book.

Roger Robinson, John Timms, Eleonora Carlini and James Harvey join Tarr and Stewart on this issue. Without a key, I'm not entirely sure which artist tackled which page, but there's a good overall consistency from one contributor to the next. Even as they use the same basic look and feel, some artists add a smoother or more angular ink line to their creations. Artistically, one of the best bits is the two-page spread that uses a map of Burnside to show where all of the characters are located, while still telling a story through sequential art. It's a clever concept from Stewart and Fletcher and the art team successfully brings to life in a way that's impressively complex, but still easy to follow.

I'm looking forward to seeing Fletcher and Carlini's work on the final two issues of the series, but -- if "Batgirl" had ended with #50 -- I would have still been happy with where it concluded. This is a strong wrap-up of the creative team's era on the character, and -- while I would have loved to see even more Batgirl stories from Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr -- both the new incoming team and this trio's own creator-owned series show a lot of promise. Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr have ended their "Batgirl" run on a high note.

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