Written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher
Art by Babs Tarr and Serge Lapointe
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: October 28, 2015
What’s the phrase? Always a bridesmaid? Never a bride? Maybe. But who else could you trust more than Barbara Gordon to ensure your wedding goes off without a hitch? And as the day has finally arrived for Alysia and Jo, Barbara just has one last thing to take care of before watching her best friend walk down the aisle. And he’s not going to make it easy.
I never say this, but OH THE FEELS. How can one book have so many? So so many. And not all of them positive.
Mind you, that’s the point of the issue, as Stewart and Fletcher have taken this opportunity of a wedding, aptly, to place Batgirl at a bit of a crossroads romantically. And like Alysia at the altar, Barbara has to choose, and not easily. Years of build-up, will they or won’t they, and missed connections between Barbara and Dick Grayson require a resolution that feels significant and weighty. The writers have delivered on that need with a sequence that both reconfirms why Dick and Barbara are essentially the star-crossed, but ill-fated loves of the DC Universe, and how both of them can move on from that.
It’s funny, because only six months ago, we were witness to the wedding of Nightwing and Oracle in their eponymously named Convergence mini-series. And that was one ending for a very different couple in a very different set of circumstances. Today, here, we have a Barbara Gordon who has struck off on her own, excelled, and left behind more than just trauma, it seems. But as much as she loves the adventures of her youth, she’s ready to forge new ones on her own terms. And that’s something of a difference between her and the boy she knew as Robin.
Make no mistake: Dick Grayson is a constantly evolving figure, someone who is interminably adaptable to new circumstances and can attack each new one with equal amounts of fervor and glee. But he is not, ironically, someone who lets go to grow very easily. And we see that here, in startling detail. Honestly, I wish I could have reached into the comic book page and slapped him more than once. The immaturity. The disrespect he showed for Barbara. It’s shocking, and yet…
It’s not malice. It’s not even self-centeredness in the classic sense. It’s about not being able to let go. And the Batmen, God help them, can rarely let go. It’s a problem the Batgirls, alternately, rarely have.
It’s time to let go, Dick. It’s time for Barbara to have her own life. It’s time.
And what a beautiful life. From the very first page of issue #45, Babs Tarr lays out a beautifully fluid issue full of fun and energy that just lifts every scene off the page and into your heart. As weddings go, the artist produces scenes straight out of every little girl’s (and a few little boys. Ahem.) dreams of having that perfect dress, the gorgeous flowers, the loveliest bridesmaids, and the most beautiful person in the world to share it with. Alysia and Jo could not be more stunning brides, and I feel like Tarr has given them —and us — their magical wedding.
From the adorable cover to Barbara’s first moments in this issue showing she’s equally as resourceful a bridesmaid as a hero, Tarr sets a tone for the entire story that lets you know right away, it’s going to be special. And it should be. Wedding issues — from Donna Troy’s to Peter Parker’s — have always been events that should be remembered fondly, not for their villains nor their explosions, but for their heart. And Tarr ensures that is absolutely the case.
Yes, she makes Dick out to be absolutely infuriating. And Barbara absolutely infuriated. I can practically feel the heat of anger radiate off of Tarr’s rendering as Dick brings those fingers to her lips to quiet her — not once, but TWICE. Oh, Dick, no.
But it’s the little moments that Tarr captures that makes the issue what it is. Alysia’s entrance in her wedding gown. Luke’s flirting, pouting, and ultimate steadfastness at Barbara’s side. That one shot of Dinah, Babs, and Frankie — our Birds of Prey — off to celebrate the love of two of their friends become something more. It’s a gorgeous and rich issue, made even more so by the subtle wash of pink over everything by colorist Serge Lapointe. If there was any question that this issue was all about love won and lost and that which is somewhere in-between, Lapointe comes through with a warmth that captures the sense perfectly.
No issue of Batgirl to date has felt as cohesive and as strikingly on point as #45, a true testament to the team DC Comics has assembled and supported on this title. A year into their run, and we’ve seen not just Barbara, but her entire cast grow and change, and all for the better. And if the final page of this issue foreshadows, it looks like we may be up for yet another set of changes to come. And because I’ve so enjoyed where we’ve been, and am amazed at how far we’ve come, I really do want this adventure to go on forever.
I do. I do I do I do.
The Verdict: 10/10