Written by: Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Eleonora Carlini & Minkyu Jung
Lettering: Steve Wands
Colors: Serge Lapointe
Review by Gregory Brothers
Issue #52 picks up right where the last issue ended. Gladius is in the Gotham Academy while Batgirl, and her not birds of prey crew, prepare to crash the building and take Gladius down. We start with a beautiful splash page of any overhead shot of the inside of Gotham Academy with Batgirl explaining to her crew how well she knows the layout of the building. Meanwhile the Commander is explaining to the students what her evil plan is while Maps and Olive argue with her. Cue the smoke and distractions as Batgirl, Spoiler, Bluebird, Black Canary, and Vixen all jump in to the rescue. As the girls all work together quickly we see the fight come to an end, only to find out that the Commander had secretly replaced herself and had moved on to her real goal of getting the Negahedron. After being just a step behind in the pursuit in trying to stop the Commander we finally get to see Batgirl catch up with her and take her down on her own.
The story feels like to serves two purposes the first thing is to start to show us how the group that will make up most of the new Birds of Prey book work together and support each other. It also ties up the whole Burnside adventures for Barbara nicely. It was nice to see Batgirl able to take the villain down by herself for the first time in a long time. The book had started to depend to much on Barbara questioning herself and her abilities and constantly thinking she wasn’t good enough to do this on her own. The final splash page at the going away party is done brilliantly as we see Barbara interact with each of her friends that she has made during her Burnside adventure which a flashback panel of past interactions floats next to the conversation. And of course as she leaves he apartment, exactly where she started her adventure we are reminded that this is not the end.
The art is hit and miss through the issue for me. The splash page of the overhead of Gotham Academy while creating a nice visual of how well Batgirl knows the layout of the building, I can not help but notice things like the ladders being way to short for how tall the bookshelves are. The smoke that is used as a distraction seems to come and go in the panels as and is not consistent at all. One thing that I have like about the art overall is although fighting crime and the evils of the world the art here is not dark at all. The colors are bright and give you a sense that even when dealing with a superhero Barbara’s outlook on life is still positive and light.
Buy, but only if you have been following the series already. This final issue is a nice nod to series as a whole and wraps up the Burnsides adventures nicely, while letting the reader know this will not be the last that we see of many of these supporting characters. The specific arc from the last two issues does seem anticlimactic and rushed, but I do not blame the writers as I am sure they were told they only had the two issues to wrap things up and get Barbara and Batgirl where they wanted her for Rebirth. While the new 52 Batgirl had its ups and downs, overall the entire run has been good to the character and hopefully Rebirth will continue that.