Still trapped in Unearth with Jason Bard, Batgirl finds herself battling a dragon. And somehow it gets wilder from there!
While this isn’t at all the kind of story one would expect Batgirl to get herself involved in, there’s something to be said for how the entire creative team just swings for the fences here. The stakes in Castelucci’s script are unbelievably high and the artwork is firing on all cylinders. Tormey is clearly having a blast with these fantasy creatures and action, while Sotomayer’s colors bring it all to vivid life. It’d be so easy for Batgirl to feel out of place here, but the whole team works together splendidly to sell the story.
The meta nature of the story is also a lot of fun, with comments about writers getting themselves into corners that are hard to bust out of. Adding onto that is the fact that the love story brewing between Barbara and Jason comes to the forefront in this issue, making it literally a life or death scenario.
Everything is heightened in a way that extends far beyond the usual bad guy-punching fare, which is honestly the sweet spot for Batgirl. She’s always been the most openly human of the Bat-Family, so it’s great to see that warmth and honesty play such a major role in the resolution this storyline.
While there is a bit of a deus ex machina at play in the final moments of the battle against the dragon, it honestly works for this story. Your mileage may vary, but so much of this arc has been built off of Barbara’s familiarity with the tropes of fantasy storytelling, so I personally loved how this played out. It’s saccharine in a way that still feels completely true to the character, even as she’s facing down an actual dragon.
There’s also something to be said for the brevity of this story arc. While it ran maybe a third the length of the Oracle storyline that tied into Year of the Villain, this story felt like it covered so much more ground in terms of emotional stakes. Barbara has come a long way in just a few short months, but it looks like her journey into the strange and unknown is just beginning.
There’s a lot to love in this latest issue of Batgirl. If you’re put off by the idea of Babs fighting dragons, don’t worry; the creative team on this book intimately understands what makes her tick. This latest issue is proof of just that.