Review: BATGIRL #8

BATGIRL #8
Written by Hope Larson
Art by Chris Wildgoose, Jon Lam, Mat Lopes
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: February 22, 2017

A speeding bus. A bomb. A cryptic message from a terrorist. Sandra Bullock. Keanu Reeves. This is Batgirl.

Okay, maybe a couple of those things aren’t in this issue, but I had to give a shoutout to the brilliant opening pages from Hope Larson, Chris Wildgoose, Jon Lam and Mat Lopes. This issue kicks off with a ton of fun and doesn’t let up, solidifying Batgirl as on of my favourite titles in comics right now.

The creative team does a great job balancing fun and drama, filling this issue with moments that are chuckle worthy without reducing Batgirl’s intelligence or fierceness as a heroine. That’s no easy feat, as balancing the heroics of Barbara Gordon in the past with all-ages-friendly villain hijinks could make it feel like a huge shift for the character. This team makes this story feel like an extension of the legacy of Barbara, a new chapter of Librarian-ism, but not a departure from who she is and what she has done. Huge credit must be given to the team for making this legacy character accessible to new readers (including younger readers) without rebooting her, effectively.

That was a bit of a tangent that can really apply to issue 7 as well, so I’m coming back to issue 8’s specifics. Hope Larson’s dialogue and pacing in this issue are fantastic. Babs’ interactions with the kids at the coding club are awesome, and as a network analyst who can sniff out IT bullshit a mile away, I’ll confirm this passed the test (which delighted me to no end). Her new adversary is a great legacy foe and the situation Larson is building sets a great tone for this series. This is top notch writing, folks, and Larson is going somewhere really good with Batgirl.

Chris Wildgoose’s art and Mat Lopes’ colouring are off the charts in this issue. After Babs Tarr’s iconic Burnside run defined Babs’ new threads, Wildgoose is the first artist to really capture that spirit for me. This artwork is stylized, yet features clean lines and with Lopes’ bright colour palette, the artwork is full of life. Babs, both in and out of costume, has a ton of personality and there is no point within this entire issue that the art ever falters. Batgirl is looking better than ever with issue #8 and I’m really excited to see what is coming next from Wildgoose and Lopes.

Batgirl #8 is an easy to access, inclusive, diverse, smart, fun, witty comic by some talented professionals. In a market that features no shortage of dark stories, Batgirl is a shining beacon of how comics can be fun, accessible for all ages, and awesome without ever sacrificing a good story. This team has got some great things rolling and I can’t wait to see where they go with this next.

The Verdict: 10/10

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