Batgirl‘s new storyline, “Summer of Lies,” started things off strong, establishing a new past for Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson’s relationship while introducing a new villain to bring the two together. At first, they thought their reunion would include a fight with the Mad Hatter, but they were mistaken. Does part two continue to build on the strong first part? Let’s dive in.
Here’s the completely spoiler-free plot synopsis from DC Comics:
“Summer of Lies” part two! Just as Batgirl and Nightwing discover which villain from their past has returned, they realize something worse…it was all a trap! When everything they thought they knew comes crashing down, will they be able to confront their true feelings for each other?
In this issue, Batgirl and Nightwing continue their investigation into the Red Queen. While we can pretty easily guess who it’s going to turn out to be, Dick and Barbara still haven’t put all the pieces together yet. Each part of this story so far has presented at least one bit of information that gets them closer to the true identity of the villain leading them on this quest through Barbara’s past. Ainsley Wells, her former computer science high school teacher, is clearly involved.
Once again, Hope Larson’s writing is fantastic as she juggles the past and present threads in this story. There’s almost some Archie DNA hidden inside her writing of Barbara and Dick as high schoolers, with wit and humor that would fit in Riverdale. (Not The CW’s Riverdale, though.) The scenes in the present are a little more standard Bat-family store fare though, with yet another villain using the past of our heroes against them. Then there’s the cliche mumbo-jumbo about trying to save Gotham from its “sickness” that’s also revealed to be a driver of Red Queen’s plans.
Chris Wildgoose’s art is fantastic. His action scenes continue to impress, as he gets through multiple moments in a single panel. It adds dynamism and smoothness to the story, much in the same way a single take without cuts does for films. The colors by Mat Lopes continue to also play a role in bringing the best out of Wildgoose’s work.
Larson’s writing on Batgirl is still great for sure, and her writing of young characters is realistic, even if they are wearing costumes. But the motivations of the villain for “Summer of Lies” is getting a little close to Bat-cliche.