Writer: Hope Larson / Artist: Christian Wildgoose / DC Comics
A little romance with a splash of comedy added to the larger investigative plotline, this is quintessential Batgirl during Larson’s run. The story picks up where we left off with Babs and Grayson having discovered the Mad Hatter and, despite his regular heroics, Nightwing comes across hilariously cold as Babs looks to spring into action to save Hatter’s life, to which Grayson basically responds, “I don’t know about you but I have a secret identity, so…”
The mystery itself drives the plot as much as the actions Batgirl and Nightwing take; the flashback format that toggles us back and forth between present day and our two heroes’ partnership origins begs one set of questions from the audience about their time spent in the past, while their current decisions – one that leaves another person dead – guides the leading question, “who is the Red Queen?” Both work to keep us interested, and since there have been genuine consequences between life and death this arc dodges the pitfall of reliance on floofy romance gimmicks.
By its end, Summer of Lies may be distilled and remembered as just a Batgirl-Nightwing romance adventure – though to be clear, nothing wrong with that – but it has the potential to find its identity in its mystery more than its ship bait. Wildgoose’s art keeps the action scenes fun and characters expressive, and Larson’s pacing moves us along slow enough to intrigue but fast enough to avoid boredom. This arc knows what it is, and to that end it succeeds in using the tools at its exposure – from teamwork and romance to action and mystery.
Reading Batgirl? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.