Batgirl #44 – Cecil Castellucci, Writer; Cian Tormey, Artist; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: The oddest story in recent Batgirl history concludes in Batgirl #44 with a fantasy-accented adventure that mostly seems to serve to push Babs and Jason Bard together as a couple. If you’re into that pairing, you might like it – but it didn’t work for me.
Last issue brought in former Titans bad guys Maker and Travesty, now stripped of all nuance and turned into weird stalkers, obsessed with hunting down Maker’s former editor who is dying of cancer. She quickly joined their side and kicked off a strange plot that has now unleashed a dragon on Batgirl – one that can only be fought with Jason, who is having a crisis because he doesn’t know if his attraction to Barbara is reciprocated. The best part of Batgirl #44 is the Cian Tormey art, which features a surprising number of double-page spreads and some great dragon visuals. Unfortunately, it’s bogged down in a story that still has some rather creepy overtones.
Ultimately, this issue is framed around two relationships that have a lot wrong with them. First is the Maker and his obsession Margaret. Margaret gets to have more of a voice this issue, but it’s more of a confused one. She continuously switches perspectives, from horrified outsider, to willing participant in madness, to self-sacrificing heroine. Ernest’s obsession with her is mostly rooted in the past and why she wanted nothing to do with him is never explored.
And then there’s Jason and Babs, which has turned Jason Bard into someone who sounds like a lovestruck teenager. Between his checkered past and the age gap between them, making so much of the run hinge on the attraction between them doesn’t sit right. The ending adds another horror element to the title, as someone who looks like Jason does something horrible. The tone of this series shifts so radically from issue to issue that it’s hard to find a cohesive theme.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.