Batgirl #37 // Review
LA-based young adult novelist/indie rocker/comic book writer Cecil Castellucci (Female Furies) takes over writing the exploits of Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon with issue #37. Joining her is veteran comic artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. Forced into a challenging position financially, Batgirl finds herself in a bit of a difficult place. While dealing with a new and improved Killer Moth who is looking to catch the eye of Lex Luthor. Di Giandomenico’s stylishly-rendered art mixes quite well with Castellucci’s fresh script in a promising issue for the new creative team. They may be saddled with the cumbersome “Year of the Villain,” crossover baggage, but Castellucci and DiGiandomenico handle the transition from the previous creative team quite deftly.
As the issue opens, the beastly Terrible Three are exploring a high-tech underground facility deep beneath Gotham. It appears completely abandoned save for a highly advanced AI that seems rather insistent upon the three giving it a password. Things get tense. Meanwhile, Batgirl faces-off against Killer Moth. He’s in a particularly homicidal mood with deadly new tech. He’s also fiercely motivated. As killing Batgirl would almost certainly alert Lex Luthor that he’s ready to become a more prominent figure in the underworld. Batgirl knows she can take him, but her questionable financial situation might prove to be a very tragic distraction for the young crime fighter.
Castellucci juggles a couple of different major plot elements in her debut issue on the series. The impoverished crime-fighter thing has been done before, but not quite this deftly. Yes: Peter Parker has had some rough times over the years, but his only major financial concern under the mask is web fluid. Batgirl has a whole arsenal of things that cost money and at present...she’s not doing so well financially. Castellucci makes it fun to watch a genius deal with defeating a super villain affordably. The unique dynamic she’s bringing to the page should provide all kinds of novel, little obstacles for the charming, young Batgirl.
Di Giandomenico’s art manages to make highly-detailed rendering (and some very impressive architectural work in the background) come across in a way that looks remarkably clean. Gotham looks weathered and cluttered. The underground complex looks impossibly complex. Vulture from the Terrible Trio looks a lot like a vulture. The realism in the detail never overcrowds the action, though. This is particularly appealing as Batgirl faces-off against Killer Moth. She’s confident, heroic, but somewhere around the corners of Di Giandomenico’s rendering of her face. Her genius is clearly present as she seems to be keeping a running total of the monetary cost of the combat in her head.
It’s pretty rare when one creative team can take over for another this smoothly. Writer Mairghread Scott had done such a good job with her run aided as she was by artist Paul Pelletier. They had a very satisfying end to their run last issue. Castellucci and Di Giandomenico take over this issue and take over without the usual sort of awkward disappointment and stiff acclimation that has to occur with a new art team. Castellucci and Di Giandomenico have hit the page ready to go right away on the first panel.