Sending The Investigation In A New Direction: Reviewing ‘Batgirls’ #11

It might be mid-October but the Batgirls summer is far from over, as the caped crusaders find themselves contending with heat waves, riddles, oh, and an ongoing serial killer mystery. Just because there is murder and mystery in the air though doesn’t mean there isn’t time for some Bat-romance!

Superhero comic books that are just about the action, nonstop all-out action, are fine and good but the real good stuff is the ones where you get that action mixed in with a whole bunch of character moments and development. Batgirls is exactly that type of series. Hell, it’s the type of series that I’d be perfectly fine with just having an issue or multiple issues where there was little fights/action and it was just the Batgirls living their lives and being awesome. 

Mysterious plotlines are not always an easy sale in serial comic books. Often that’s because not enough breadcrumbs or work is done to keep the mystery engaging to the audience, leading them to be bored or not care for a solution. What Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad did with their mystery is how it works. The Hill serial killer began as a subplot and was brought up often, while other plots happened, allowing the snippets of information as well as the full character-focused moments to keep the readers intrigued and engaged. 

Paramount to this series is that no matter how serious some of the subject matter might be, it never loses the lighter aspects and the heart of the title: which is the relationship between the Batgirls. It’s just a super fun series that does so much in its pages, each issue feeling like two in one, but never in an overwhelming way or a way that bogs things down. 

We get more really light but deep while whimsically fun work from Neil Googe and Rico Renzi, with some assistance on this issue. Scott Godlewski and Wayne Faucher jump in to ink some of the pages, with Godlewski also providing finishes on some other pages. Across some of the pages the changes are noticeable, with each only working on a few pages, but not in a way that takes away from the issue or is bothersome at all. Most of the changes happen in particular scenes making it work well to have a bit of a switch with all of the same energy and love spilling out onto the pages. 

Their work compliments Googe’s really fun art style, at times helping with the depth/detail work that is put into the panels and in others helping with the more whimsical/fantastical/just for fun aspects. It’s really interesting how well Googe manages to mix the lighter tone of artwork with the menacing or scary energy some pages need (like with Killer Moth or Riddler reveals), making it so that they are scary as they should be while it being very much like a mustache-twirling cackling silly vibe at the same time. My mind goes right to the Adam West-era Batman series, which is never a bad thing. 

Renzi’s colors complement that because they are just so colorful and vivid but not so vivid that they feel unnatural or too much. Slick and bright but are essentially toned down so that they have a more realistic feeling to them in many areas, but in others, they are toned down but also ramped up to create a wild atmosphere. Such as suddenly having bright neon like green or cold blue or other colors taking over the background, enhancing the mood that is needed at the moment. I thought that the Riddler mention in the last issue was a red herring, but here he was, and the pages leading up should have clued me into the truth with the green colors getting more and more pronounced leading up to the reveal. 

Far more readers need to pay attention to and appreciate the tremendous work that letterers do because there are so many amazing ones out there like Becca Carrey putting in all the great work. No standard font or lettering would do here, as Carrey makes sure that everything put onto the page has the same personality and energy as the rest of the story, putting together some great colors and changes and tricks for the lettering. Colored bubbles and smaller font for whispering or bigger font for yelling (love the attention to making tones/volume clear) are great and I love them, but right now there is no way I don’t smile when a letterer stretches a bit of dialogue out in a way that the bubble actually shifts to conform to the shape of the words. Those sorts of things are just so comic book in energy and power, and get me quite excited. 

I just love comic books, a real shocker I know, and it’s comics like this that always remind me why that is so. Everything about this book is powerful from the characters to the action to the storyline and just the fun heart that beats through it month after month. I hope we have many more years on this ride with the Batgirls. 

Batgirls #11 is now available from DC Comics. 

It might be mid-October but the Batgirls summer is far from over, as the caped crusaders find themselves contending withCOMICONRead More

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