Batgirl #22 – Hope Larson, Writer; Minkyu Jung, Penciller; Jose Marzan Jr., Inker; Mat Lopes, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Excellent Start
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Hope Larson’s final arc on kicks off in Batgirl #22 with an intriguing sci-fi twist, in an issue that calls back to the title’s first arc. The issue opens with Barbara jumping into the middle of a hostage situation at a family home, when a low-rent criminal takes his ex-wife and children hostage with a high-tech gun, threatening her over her decision to leave him. Barbara protects the family but takes a hard shot from what seems to be a stun gun in the process. She shrugs it off, takes him down, and goes on with her day. This includes meeting up with her old friend Kai, who got her into no small amount of trouble in Asia, again. Kai has gotten his life together and moved to Burnside, where he makes clear that he is interested in starting fresh with Barbara. Although she isn’t ready to make that leap with him yet, it’s clear that she’s happy to see him again.
Interestingly, that’s not the only old friend she meets this issue, as her former sparring partner from Asia May turns up as well, having lost her gym in Singapore due to a lawsuit and now working as an MMA fighter/trainer in Burnside. However, before the two can catch up, Barbara notices just how unusually buff May has gotten and the strange implant she has in her arm. May angrily brushes her off, and Barbara follows her into a dangerous situation that reveals May’s true nature – or so it seems. What happens from there takes the series in a very different direction as Barbara finds out that most of the issue has been all in her head. This title has always had a bit of a cyberpunk vibe, going back to the Batgirl of Burnside run, and it’s good to see Larson go back to that before her run concludes. This arc is calling back to plotlines from the entire run, and it’s a solid combination of the strengths of both Gail’s run and Batgirl of Burnside.
Corrina: Usually, when something is a dream or virtual reality sequence in a narrative, it’s obvious to me. This one was not, taking Barbara on a journey through her past adventures that feels real (despite the coincidences) until it’s not.
It gives the reader a chance to see how Babs feels about Kai–ambivalent. (Which is much the way she feels about Dick Grayson.) We also see how keenly she feels responsible for May and how much guilt circles her thoughts and all her decisions.
And now it’s going to take all her intelligence and determination, always strengths of this Batgirl, to sort it all out.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.
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