REVIEW: ‘Batgirl,’ Issue #49

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batgirl #49
Batgirl #49 is published by DC Comics, written by Cecil Castellucci, with art by Robbi Rodriguez, colors by Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Andworld Design. There is a killer on the loose. What’s worse is that his victim appears to be Batgirl? Or maybe not. As the number of dead Batgirls rises something becomes all too clear: Gotham’s newest killer has a fixation on Batgirl. But can she find the killer, before the killer finds her?

The first thing to note about Batgirl #49 is that it is labeled as a Joker War Collateral Damage issue. Generally, these issues connect to the larger Joker War storyline in some way. However, if there is a connection here, I don’t see it. Gotham seems to be running as normal. Well, normal for Gotham anyway. So, if you might be considering picking this story up just so you can have the full Joker War storyline I’d say you can definitely skip this one. Now that we have covered what this issue isn’t, let’s talk about what it is.

Batgirl #49 opens with GCPD finding the body of Batgirl dead. Though it obviously isn’t the real Batgirl, as the genuine article also arrives at the scene as well. When the police decide to let it be known that Batgirl is dead, some of Gotham mourns their fallen hero. What the police decide to keep to themselves is the additional dead Batgirl’s that quickly turn up.

Batgirl #49 

While Jim Gordon is not currently with Gotham Police, he is aiding in the investigation. His knowledge of all things bag related to Gotham is unparalleled. Seeing the mock Batgirls continue to turn up quickly causes him to become concerned for his daughter’s wellbeing. Seeing as she actually IS Batgirl. This concern is also shared by Barbara’s brother James. The interpersonal dynamic between the three quickly takes center stage.

With Jim Gordon’s recent struggle with being one of the Batman Who Laugh’s infected still hanging over his head, the situation between him and Barbara is clearly strained. All involved in the tense family interactions are portrayed well through Castellucci’s writing. With both of the male Gordon’s having screwed up plenty, and a killer clearly targeting her, Barbara is in no mood to be told what she should, or shouldn’t be doing.

The art in Batgirl #49 delivers it’s narrative well, even though it’s exact style never quite felt right for its story. It’s one of those things I can’t precisely put my finger on. Even though Rodriguez captures the issues more emotional moments well, the characters themselves never felt quite “right” to me. This left me frequently being pulled out of the story as I found myself trying to figure out where the disconnect lay between it and the art for me.

Combining with Rodriguez’s art is Bellaire’s colorwork. The color choices used here are spot on. This is especially true whenever Barbara dons her costume. Bellaire’s colors when Batgirl is present in the panel always works perfectly to highlight the story’s protagonist.

Rounding out the visual presentation here is the lettering. The letter work is delivered in a competent fashion. Creating an easy to read the story that flows nicely with the art.

When all is said and done Batgirl #49 delivers a strong, emotional story. Its end hits hard and feels like it will have a huge impact on where Barbara’s story goes from here.

Batgirl #49 is available on September 22nd wherever comics are sold.

‘Batgirl,’ Issue #49
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TL;DR

When all is said and done Batgirl #49 delivers a strong, emotional story. Its end hits hard and feels like it will have a huge impact on where Barbara’s story goes from here.