Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Batgirl #30 - A Review

By all rights, I should not have enjoyed Batgirl #30 as much as I did.  It isn't a superhero story but a horror story - probably my least favorite genre in all of fiction.  It's a diversion from the on-going story of this series, doing nothing to move any of the subplots forward.  Much of Batgirl's internal monologue is focused upon her feelings regarding Dick Grayson's apparent death in a recent crossover event I care nothing about.  And this version of Barbara Gordon - while undeniably sounding like Barbara Gordon throughout - nevertheless thinks about a lot of things I can't imagine Barbara Gordon ever thinking about, such as why she might be jealous of the Robins' having a closer relationship to Batman than she does.

And yet, somehow, Marguerite Bennett's script works.  This issue is a distraction, yes, but it is an entertaining one.  The story is a horror movie on paper - with Batgirl stepping in to rescue a group of college students who accidentally summoned the Gotham equivalent of Bloody Mary - but Barbara recognizes it as such and defies the conventions, remaining confident and poised throughout.  You don't question for a moment that while Barbara is loathe to believe in the supernatural, she still read something about evil spirits at some point and remembers what herbs in a standard spice rack could be used to banish a ghost... just in case.

The artwork by guest artist Robert Gill is similarly different from that of the usual creative team but equally enjoyable.  Gill has a clear, bright style that seems at odds with the dark world of Gotham City. Yet that clarity only serves to emphasize the darkness of the Midnight Man and the swarms of bats, bugs and other vermin that fall under his command as the issue progresses.  Gill proves that you don't have to drown a page in ink to evoke a horrific aura.

Bottom Line - this book is different from what I expect in a Batgirl comic, but it isn't bad by a long-shot!

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