Collects Batgirl #41-45, Batgirl Annual #3
Written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher
Art and colors by Babs Tarr, Bengal, Ming Doyle, David LaFuente, Mingjue Helen Chen, Serge Lapointe
Batgirl by Brendan Fletcher and Cameron Stewart is an interesting creature within the Bat-titles. It eschews the gritty noir atmosphere that tends to define the Gotham-centered series and favors an optimistic fun, even as Babs struggles with both supernatural and mundane antagonists. While Batgirl is an effective detective and crime-fighter, and her fights with villains are a blast, that’s only half of the story. The other half is her relationships with her friends, her father, and her love interests. Although anyone could easily enjoy Batgirl, the title is acutely suited for teen girls and young women.
Chief among the volume’s concerns is the new Batman–Bab’s father, Commissioner Gordon. He’s donning an armored suit for his crime fighting, and his goal is to clean the vigilantes, including Batgirl, off the streets. Batgirl wants Batman to trust her and twice he lets her go after she assists him in nabbing a villain. Meanwhile, Gordon opens up to Babs that he’s the new Batman, not wanting to keep such an important secret from her. The problem is that Babs doesn’t trust him enough to tell him she’s Batgirl, and the tension of his trust and her lack of it creates a compelling dramatic irony. Like most heroes who keep a secret identity, she does so out of concern for his wellbeing, and perhaps anticipating his disapproval. Still, her reticence after his reveal seems like the wrong move.