Batgirl #40 Review

Written by: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher

Art by: Babs Tarr & Maris Wicks

Publisher: DC

Ever since the beginning of the New 52 we’ve seen Barbara go through the ringer of dealing with everything that has every gone on in her past. She’s dealt with the aftermath of the injury that paralyzed her, and much of the series has been her dealing with getting the ability to walk back. She’s dealt with her evil brother, and so many people that would put her down. When the new creative team jumped onto the series everything changed. There was a new costume, a new tone, a new art style, and Barbara move to a strange new part of Gotham City. A story of change was promised by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr, and the finale of their first arc delivers on that promise.

This entire arc we’ve seen Barbara dealing with a new villain claiming to be the “real” Batgirl. As revealed in the last issue, and also Secret Origins, that villain is none other than Barbara herself, or at least a corrupted artificial intelligence based on her brainwaves. The artificial intelligence represents so much more, which is what makes this entire arc hit a home run. Instead of simply being misguided and evil, the artificial intelligence seems to represent everything that could have gone wrong with Barbara had she not fought to live past the traumas of her past. Barbara is fighting her past and all the darkness we’ve seen in the series from before the current team took over to become a better person. It’s a story that works and ultimately wipes her slate clean and sets the stage for the future of this title and a lot of interesting places for the team and Barbara to go.

There is a lot of amazing imagery going on in this series and it has been the most wonderful thing to see Tarr’s abilities grow in this medium and get better every issue. There is one moment in this issue that encapsulates the entire arc and what is to come going forward and that is a celebratory scene in the end. Tarr portrays Barbara as being genuinely happy, and the happiest we’ve seen her in all the New 52. There is joy, and happiness, and what we have is an all-new, reinvigorated Barbara. It’s quite the thing to see.

Batgirl #40, the conclusion of this first arc, is a thing of beauty and you need to be picking this title up.