Batgirl #40 – Cecil Castellucci, Writer; Carmine DiGiandomenico, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: So far, this first arc of the new creative team on Batgirl has been a well-executed story where I have problems with the entire central concept – turning Barbara Gordon’s second superhero identity into an evil robot out for revenge.
Not only because it makes Oracle a symbol of evil, but because it makes Barbara look like she created artificial life and then threw it in a box to play vigilante as soon as the surgery worked.
But Cecil Castellucci and Carmine DiGiandomenico have done an above-average job with the concept, investing the inhuman “Oracle” with a genuine sense of menace as it gains greater self-awareness and wages its campaign of revenge. With their Terrible Trio in tow, the Oracle robot is determined to pull Barbara out of hiding and is more than willing to victimize Burnside to do it – starting by lighting the city on fire and taking large numbers of civilians as hostages.
The rest of Barbara’s supporting cast is involved to various degrees in Batgirl #40, with Congresswoman Alejo and Jason Bard being on a trip out of the city when they get word of the attack. This leads Jason to push his growing anti-vigilante platform, which is one of my least favorite ongoing superhero subplots.
The real star in Batgirl #40, though, is Frankie Charles – in many ways, the closest to a real heir to Barbara Gordon as Oracle that we’ve gotten – as she does the field work needed to take back control of the Oracle network from the robot using its name. Frankie spends much of the issue in peril, and I trust Castellucci will keep her safe in the coming issues because she was one of Fletcher and Stewart’s best additions to the franchise.
There’s a good Barbara Gordon in this story, and a good sense of tension, but I’m not sure the central plot is doing the character any favors.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.