Batgirls #5 – Becky Cloonan/Michael W. Conrad, Writers; Jorge Corona, Artist; Sarah Stern, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Batgirls continues to be DC’s lightest blast of a book every month, combining high-octane action with top-notch banter featuring the three heroines. As this issue kicks off, the girls are going up against the Saints, the trio of heavily-armed loyalists to the late Simon Saint. With the Batgirls now having their own souped-up muscle car, they’re able to stay ahead of the goons in their heavily armed van. It’s the kind of fun car combat that’s been missing for a while with Batman and his Batmobile. Barbara has mostly been the behind-the-scenes support in this title—which many would say is where she’s best served as Oracle—but she does enter the fray this issue to deliver the evidence that may end the threat of the Saints for good. But with one threat neutralized, another is looming—and the deranged Tutor is gearing up for his biggest attack yet with the help of the mysterious Spellbinder.
Spellbinder is, I believe, the first major Batman Beyond villain to enter the mainstream DCU, although this version has a rather different origin. The manipulative and ruthless ex of Barbara Gordon hasn’t just been manipulating Tutor—he may be the man behind his entire descent into madness. As Barbara tails Dr. Dance and tries to expose him, the tone of the issue often shifts into one of a horror movie. But despite the dark plot at times, this book never loses sight of what makes it work. A segment when Cass takes on an army of Tutor’s possessed soldiers is one of the best action scenes of the series, and the narration—detailing how she doesn’t quite have the cultural context to understand certain events—is very compelling. This issue sometimes feels like a setup for the climax next month, but it has more than enough great moments to continue this title’s winning streak.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.