Batgirl is on her own, in China, with a crappy criminal boyfriend and multiple enemies coming at her. Just another day in the life, I guess. We check out issue #4 of the always beautiful series, but is it good?
Batgirl #4 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
“Beyond Burnside” part four! Batgirl realizes too late that she’s fallen right into Teacher’s trap! If she’s going to get to Shanghai in time to save Kai, she’ll have to track down this mysterious new villain and end things once and for all.
Why does this book matter?
Artist Rafael Albuquerque has infused this book with expressive, energy-filled art and so many cool style choices that even the simplest panel is made to feel special. Hope Larson has written an intriguing story as she’s thrust Batgirl in China and made the culture a big part of the story.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Larson continues to have Barbara do some fine detective work, but also lets her kick butt too. There’s plenty of action in this issue, but also some key character work as Barb attempts to swallow the truth that a guy she digs romantically is up to no good. She confronts him and learns some new details on a major threat, but you get the sense that things are going to be changing for both of them soon personally. It’s also neat how Larson has connected the bad guys to a cultural element of China, that being Cram School and the idea that one test will determine your career and future.
The art by Albuquerque continues to be a joy to look at and experience. There’s always some little detail to make the page pop, like the stars below, and the colors by Dave McCaig are deliciously light. Together they make the title feel unique and very fun. A full page spread of Batgirl jumping off a roof is incredible too. The ben-day dots in the sky shooting out around Batgirl, her amazing pose, and the children smiling from a window all add up to an epic and awesome page that’s poster worthy.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Call me crazy, but the characters Batgirl fights in the opening pages are a bit silly. They call themselves School Girl and Hardhat, really? Maybe it’s because they’re young, but it’s so silly it’s reminiscent of the hardly serious Batman series of the 60s.
Aside from that, if you asked me what the heck is going on and who Batgirl is actually chasing I’d have a hard time explaining. There’s a true mystery going on, but there are so many players who have come in and out I’m unsure what the deal is — though it could be all will be revealed later. That said, it makes the mystery of things more confusing than enticing.
Is It Good?
Batgirl kicks butt and delivers one of the most refreshing comics when it comes to visuals in ages.