“Open Mind”
Written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher
Art by Babs Tarr, Roger Robinson, John Tims, Eleonora Carlini, and James Harvey
Colors by Serge Lapointe, Lee Loughridge, and James Harvey
Letters by Steve Wands
Review by John Dubrawa

Batgirl #50 may not be the official end of the series (that will be issue #52), but it does serve as an extra-sized send off to this quirky subsection of the Bat-universe under writers Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr. Characters and villains from the team’s entire run converge for one last fight where everyone gets their moment to shine one last time. The narrative of this issue is less cerebral than the previous ones have been, resulting in a much more action-oriented send-off than expected given how devoted to character study this series has been. But the scope of that action and the stakes that are raised here have never been higher and much like the heroes within, the creative team definitely rises to the occasion to deliver a satisfying if not slightly truncated conclusion.

Immediacy is certainly achieved by Stewart and Fletcher’s script, which sees all of Batgirl’s previous rogues–under the command of her latest, The Fugue–attacking various points throughout Burnside, leaving Batgirl and her team to split up and take them out (mostly) one-on-one in order to derail a city-wide catastrophe. Splitting the action this way allows each member of team Batgirl a moment in the spotlight as well as a last look at her former foes, who may not be particularly threatening but make for visually-entertaining fodder. As for the final showdown between Batgirl and Fugue, it certainly provides satisfying closure but it’s a shame that the major sacrifice Barbara has to make during the battle is repealed in the very next scene. While this was most likely done in order to make for an easier transition for Barbara’s next adventure, it does take a lot of wind out of the issue’s sails, which could have gone out on a very interesting note.

Artist Babs Tarr closes out her saga of Batgirl in spectacular fashion, breathing just as much life into this issue as she has been doing since she hopped on board. It’s a shame she’s not able to contribute 100% to the interiors here as the art duty is split between her, Roger Robinson, John Timms, Eleonora Carlini, and James Harvey. While this sounds like it has potential to mess with the flow of such a fast-paced book, the switches between artists is seamless. Each artist is given a battle to render—which begins with a videogame-esque “VS” screen that had to be Tarr’s anime-influence kicking in—and does a fantastic job at keeping the book fun throughout. Serge Lapointe, Lee Loughridge, and James Harvey ‘s colors are bright and consistent through each artist’s renditions. Their color palette serves as a constant reminder that although Burnside might be part of Gotham it certainly grew to become its own unique getaway. Hopefully the team that carries on Stewart, Fletcher, and Tarr’s legacy remembers that.

Obviously buy! You haven’t been reading this year-and-a-half long saga from Stewart, Fletcher, and Tarr to just give up now, right? Batgirl #50 is one of the most action-oriented issues of the series to date and from front cover to the final page it delivers a satisfying end to this saga of Burnside.

John Dubrawa

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