Hope Larson is aided by new artist Chris Wildgoose this week as Batgirl is back in her hometown and ready to kick butt. Little does she know, maybe the biggest threat she faces today is gentrification! We check out the latest issue to determine, is it good?
Batgirl #7 (Vertigo)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“Son of Penguin” part one! Babs is back in Burnside! But everything’s…different-friends, school, even Burnside itself. Batgirl must determine her next steps when she realizes that the shady new tech mogul moving into her neighborhood is none other than the estranged son of the Penguin
Why does this book matter?
Larson has written a Batgirl that’s infinitely fun and easy to relate to. She has a spark that’s infectious and it’ll be interesting to see how she reestablishes herself in her home town. Add in the integration of Penguin’s mysterious son and we have sparks folks!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Larson does a good job reestablishing Barbara’s old roommate, her new direction at school, and the state of the streets. A new app allows people to register where homeless people are sleeping and pick them up. That’s strange and it’s tied to a mysterious new member of the community who happens to be Penguin’s son. Larson ties Barbara into his world well and establishes that maybe there’s something there more than just a case. It’s also fun to see Barbara in college and how she’s interested in growing her connection to help folks find answers. Later, when she’s in the costume and attempting to solve a mystery of sorts, Larson does well to show the realistic nature of doing good in tights. Ultimately the issue shakes out to feeling very real and alive as Barbara establishes multiple facets of her life.
The art by Wildgoose is solid, rendered in high detail with every background serving as a way to establish the realism of the moment. Clothes look fantastic, and the sequence with Batgirl in the costume is quite good. The action is easy to follow and action packed, with a nice use of Ben-Day dots to liven things up. The issue feels more realistic due to the art which helps ground it in reality. Though there is a lot of dialogue, Wildgoose’s layouts don’t skimp with plenty of panels to help progress things and keep the story moving along.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is more dialogue heavy than in previous issues with a soap opera feel as it taps more deeply into Barbara’s day life than being a superhero. It might take a bit more patience, especially without Rafael Albuquerque behind the wheel, but if you’re game for a new look and direction you might just love it.
A librarian suits the character, but isn’t it a little boring for her?
Is It Good?
Barbara feels more real than ever as the series takes a deeper look into her day to day life and all the plates she has to spin now that she’s back from China. If Batgirl continues with this look and feel it might go down as the strongest character work she’s had in ages.