The Clock Is Ticking Ever Closer To Zero: Reviewing ‘Batgirls’ #18
by Scott Redmond
With the end in sight, ‘Batgirls’ continues to do what it does best with a deep emotional character-focus which has defined this series as one of the best on the shelves. If you haven’t been checking this book out, it’s time to make that change, and bring this greatness into your life.
Superheroes forever wrestle with the inherent risk that their actions behind the mask will bring danger to those they love. Sometimes though the danger from their existence extends further. What can one do if their very presence puts an entire neighborhood in the crosshairs?
As the Batgirls are discovering, there isn’t an easy answer.
It’s a true shame still that this series is about to end. Timing wise it all feels far too soon. There was so much left to explore with and around these characters. They’ll definitely pop up elsewhere, being popular Bat-family members, but it won’t feel the same. Especially if they lose the deep emotional/character focus that is a signature of this series. I mean, come on, the Batman proud moment… misty-eyed!
In this penultimate issue, Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan hit all those right character notes. Our title characters struggle with the choices they must make while relying on each other. So many really solid moments, chiefly between Step and Cass who are the BFF heart/core of this series. Seeing a friendship where they love, support, and prop each other up while kicking ass is amazing. Especially between two young women as main series leads, which (still in 2023, ugh) isn’t that common in superhero comics.
We need more titles like this on the shelves, not less. Happy for the journey, but upset about the loss.
This is an issue that hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. We feel that both in the overall story beats, but also visually. Robbi Rodriguez has a very kinetic energetic style that lends itself to this story. Plenty of weighty depth that gives the space and characters a realistic edge, but enough outlandishness for the fantastical nature of this world.
This pairs well with the color choices of Rico Renzi, weaving together vivid flashes of color and more nuanced darker tones. It helps enhance that ‘weighted’ feeling, while also keeping to the lighter/fun vibes the series is known for. Gotham is a dark foreboding city but The Hill and the Batgirls are a far more colorful bunch. We see and inherently feel that here.
Becca Carey‘s lettering makes us feel the energy and personality in every word on the page. It flows so smoothly across the page, with all the right little flairs that set the mood with volume/tone. We can read and hear every bit of emotion as it is meant to be.
I still marvel at how much this creative team packs into every issue. There are so many big meaty discussions and action moments, jam-packed in without any of them losing power or flavor. Wow, that was a lot of food-related words. There is enough here to be two issues in some other less dense series. Even with the overly serious subject of a sniper on the loose, there is still light energy to be found. Especially around the Batgirls themselves, and it works.
Batgirls #18 is now available from DC Comics.