Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Wait a minute. That's total bullshit. Ain't nothing sweet about the final issue of the instant classic run on Batgirl from Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr (our close personal friends)! That's right kids, the team that launched a thousand redesigns after Batgirling their way right into our hearts is saying farewell to both Batgirl and Burnside and they brought a BUNCH of friends along.
Just to to establish it, while Stewart and Fletcher are still our storytellers for their final ride with Barbara, the art as a massive team effort. To avoid possibly slighting ANYONE involved with this stellar issue, here is the team:
ARTISTS: Babs Tarr, Roger Robinson, John Timms, Eleonora Carlini , James Harvey , Cameron Stewart
COLORS: Serge Lapointe, Lee Loughridge, James Harvey
Everyone brought their A-game to the party for this one. The final battle between The Fugue and his collection of Batgirl rogues is just like Team Batgirl's run on the series: High octane, fun and engaging the whole way through. Stewart and Fletcher give us everything we could want from this finale. All the major players, great fight scenes and heart bigger than all of Gotham are on display as Barbara defends Burnside and her good name.
Barbara's lip in this panel embodies everything I will forever love and remember about this series. GOD the emotions, the facial expressions, THE ATTENTION TO DETAIL!! Can we all pause for a minute and sing the praises of Babs Tarr for her work on this series? And while she has help on this 50th issue, the Batgirl Tarr worked so hard to establish shines through. Stewart and Fletcher use the battle with The Fugue to show us just how strong and smart Barbara is at her core. The lengths our heroine is willing to go to to win her battle are sure to win the admiration of even the most begrudging of Bats.
The supporting cast, a big part of this series, is also given a chance to strut their stuff. Spoiler, Bluebird, Black Canary (swoon) and Operator are all coming to the party with some of their best banter and coolest gadgets. I swear, if REBIRTH erases Frankie? Count me out. Frankie is now a beloved part of Batgirl to me and she deserves to continue her fight alongside Barbara.
This issue does exactly what you would expect from Team Batgirl by bringing the goods. No pandering to our feels for the final issue, hell no. Barbara and her team have a ton of ass to kick and only about 3 hours to kick it in. The video game style splash pages were a big hit with me along with the pin up from Cameron Stewart. The art and colors throughout the book really hammer home Burnside's feel and Batgirl's attitude. Vibrant, alive and always fighting for more.
I feel the title of this issue is no coincidence. While "Open Mind" certainly fits with Batgirl's mental battle against The Fugue, it also points to the future of the series. Written by Hope Larson and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque, the Batgirl of DC's REBIRTH will have big yellow boots to fill. Here's hoping they at least come close and to keeping an open mind.