Batgirl vol. 3: Mindfields

I hope everyone enjoyed Batgirl’s time in Burnside because it ends with this volume.  It was a fun detour and while the stories from writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, along with Babs Tarr’s art (along with many other talented artists) didn’t prove to be as revolutionary as their buzz would indicate, they still put a fresh spin on the superhero formula.  Take the main arc from this volume that has Barbara Gordon hanging out with friends, fighting bad guys, and slowly worrying that she’s losing her mind in the process.  That’s because a sinister villain known as The Fugue has found a way to attack Batgirl’s greatest strength:  her memory.  His is an incredibly creepy gimmick and the creators do a good job of portraying it in all of its insidiousness.  The good news is that it ultimately leads to a proper climax for this run as all of Barbara’s friends team up to help her out and take out all of the bad guys the Fugue has roped into his scheme.  Granted, you may wonder why The Fugue didn’t just utterly destroy his nemesis given the power he’s revealed to have had over her.  It’s handwaved away via the usual supervillain megalomania (his vengeance is personal, you see), but that would’ve broken the series and the character, and prevented us from having a fist-pumping climax where Batgirl puts one over on him.  Formulaic, but still good fun.

The rest of the volume is rounded out by two issues written by Fletcher and illustrated by three different artists, and the “Batgirl:  Endgame” one-shot written by Fletcher and Stewart, with art by Bengal.  Fletcher’s two-issue arc serves to bring back the leader of Gladius for a rematch against Batgirl and serve as an unofficial crossover with “Gotham Academy.”  It’s a fun bit of fluff that doesn’t really add much to what has come before.  However, the two-page spread near the end which calls back to the memorable one from the first issue of this particular run serves as a nice reminder of all this series has accomplished and helps to draw a line under things.  The “Endgame” one-shot is far less consequential as it just has Batgirl working to save as many people as she can before the Burnside bridge is blown up to halt the spread of the Endgame virus.  This may have little relevance to the crossover it ties into, but it still manages to be a pretty great showcase for Bengal’s skills as an artist with its emphasis on action in a silent issue.  Overall, “Mindgames” was a solid end to the Fletcher/Stewart/Tarr run and another welcome reminder of how superior execution can elevate the superhero formula, which the creators will be departing from with “Motor Crush” from Image later this year.

Leave a Reply