Batgirls enters its final issue this month as it wraps up a short arc focused on The Hill, the people within, and the Batgirls place in all of it. As the series comes to close, it strives to tie together themes and ideas from the series, as well as the arc itself. Let’s take a look at all it does.
The finale of Batgirls is a sweet, hopeful ending to the series that wants to inspire readers in it’s exit. It feels like a wrap up, instead of an ending that may or may not lead to more, and I like that about it. It ties up the loose ends of the current plot, by revealing the shooter and by giving Grace her own moment for resolution. We also end the series with The Hill having rallied around the Batgirls, a stark contrast to how the run opened: with everyone against them. These elements all work well, and the hopeful ending plays to my own sensibilities. I like a good inspiring tone and the idea that all things will work out for the best.
I also really enjoyed Grace getting her own mini-finale in the book. Her tumult of emotions caused by the shooting and desire for revenge are allowed to play out, and the story gives her some resolution to her overall character arc. While I’d liked to have seen more growth from her, I think if I went through the series and re-read it I’d find some nice connecting threads of her own changes in tone and relationships from the start of the series to the ending.
One element that felt off was the inclusion of Gunbunny and Gunhawk. Despite not being named or revealed in the book before this, they were revealed as being behind the plot in the solicit and cover of a previous issue. Steph seems confused by Gunbunny’s role in the narrative, while Cass is fairly confident in Gunhawk’s identity. Both elements feel like they belonged in a different story, with the only “clue” to their identity in last issue’s investigation scene. Like they were jammed into this as a final cameo and ah-ha answer to the identity behind the shooter. It’s another example of the series’ unfortunate inability to really stick its villain reveals.
There’s something overall that’s felt very off about the whole arc with the sniper. It felt rushed, and now confused. It’s obvious Cloonan and Conrad wanted to tie at least one of the characters back to the opening of the series with the Saints, but it doesn’t mesh well with Gunbunny’s own vendetta against the Batgirls. When telling a story about revenge, or a shooter with a vendetta the writers should focus in on one idea to really properly tell the story. Instead here the ideas are at conflict, two characters here for two very different reasons. Plus again, it feels like they’ve been shoehorned in for yet another cameo of Batman named villains instead of using a more general character in this plot.
Robbi Rodriguez is on art for this final issue, and keeps things consistent throughout. The book looks good in this last issue, with clean lines and pages that are easy to follow. Rico Renzi’s colors blend well too, making the right characters pop at the right time, like the purple of Steph’s outfit, or red of Grace’s hair. I really like how he illustrates Cass in her Batgirl uniform, jumping across panels as she’s diving into action. It is, overall, a good way to wrap the series up with clean and consistent work.
As a way of giving final thoughts on the issue, I also wanted to briefly discuss the series as a whole, since we are now at the end. I’ve talked a lot about how I was so excited for this series, and consequently my disappointment as the series never quite found its footing. I am deeply disappointed that Batgirls never really managed to find its voice, jumping from theme to theme, emotion to emotion, and even the way the Batgirls themselves felt. Sometimes they were younger, sometimes older and more mature. The plots jumped around just as much, and it felt like every interesting mystery or plot had a named Batman villain hiding in the shadows like a celebrity guest waiting to be called out to the stage. That said, the series had some nice moments of character work, and I did really enjoy the comradery between the trio of Batgirls. I liked the world of The Hill, and the characters contained within.
- You’ve stuck around this long, and want to finish the series
- Hopeful endings are your thing
- The Batgirls get one last ride, and you want to join them
As the finale to Batgirls this issue does a good job wrapping up the final plot and referencing back to the beginning of the story, both in its characters and in how the Batgirls have developed over the course of the run. While the run has had its share of problems I am happy that the Batgirls got the chance to adventure together, and I hope that they get the chance again in the future.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.