Writer: Hope Larson / Artist: Christian Wildgoose/ DC Comics
Batgirl #9 does one of the best balancing acts in Larson’s series to date, focusing on Babs’ personal life in various quick, subtle ways while also continuing the “Son of Penguin” story plot. The best part of this issue is that it covers ground on both elements while maintaining its fun factor, relying on Babs’ charm, busyness, and friend dynamics to keep her personal development interesting, and weaving in a robbery here and a new technology there to keep the tech-focused Vicform plot rolling. Each scene, big or small, serves one or the other. Sometimes, at best, both.
The focus on Babs’ personal life – grad school, volunteerism, relationships, and “work” as Batgirl – does well to make her actually relatable despite being a costumed hero by night. Her adventures of Batgirl seem little more than one more conflict of being a twenty-something trying to find your way, albeit a more exciting part, but still, just one more thing demanding the attention of a grad school student whose ambition conflicts with the time constraints of a 24-hour day. Elements of Babs’ personal life and Batgirl’s crime fighting are cleverly woven together here, a great example being Babs running late to her volunteer teacher job at a children’s coding center only to discover all her students are obsessed with a new game app that guides an explanation of data mining and tracking.
Overall, Batgirl #9 is cleverly written and makes for a relatable her to anyone who’s ever felt pulled in several directions. Her personal development meets her professional life in a way that propels them both, and while she’s holding it all together well right now, the tension lies in when those conflicts might come to a head. And all the while, the intrigue of the Cobblepot family is starting to pick up as well. It’s a good time for this series.
Reading Batgirl? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.