Batgirl Vol. 3: Summer of Lies (Rebirth): A collection of Batgirl stories

Batgirl Vol. 3: Summer of Lies (Rebirth) by Hope Larson & Chris WildgooseBatgirl Vol. 3: Summer of Lies (Rebirth) by Hope Larson & Chris Wildgoose

Batgirl Vol. 3: Summer of Lies (Rebirth) by Hope Larson & Chris WildgooseThe third volume of Hope Larson’s Batgirl run actually includes three separate stories, though the last is the longest and definitely the best. They’re a nice mix of Barbara Gordon tackling old-school villainy and more contemporary issues, with her usual combination of bright-eyed enthusiasm and cutting-edge technology.

In “Troubled Waters” Barbara is investigating a haunted public swimming pool, in which several swimmers have seen a strange purple energy. Along with the over-enthusiastic host of a ghost hunting reality show. It’s a short but fun tale that is totally lifted from Fred’s backstory on season three of Joss Whedon’s Angel, but also showcases Barbara’s intelligence and mystery-solving skills.

“The Truth About Bats and Dogs” has Batgirl team up with a little girl called Esme (not as bad as it sounds) and Catwoman to investigate the disappearance of several cats and dogs in the neighbourhood. This is probably the weakest story of the three in Batgirl Vol. 3: Summer of Lies (Rebirth), with a silly villain that has equally silly motivation, and not enough exploration of the Batgirl/Catwoman dynamic.

Finally, “Summer of Lies” involves Batgirl and Nightwing looking into a series of bizarre drug-related occurrences after they’re each lured to a rooftop to watch two young women take their own lives. Realizing that they bore a strange resemblance to a woman called “Ainsley”, the two begin to investigate.

Batgirl Vol. 3: Summer of Lies (Rebirth) by Hope Larson & Chris WildgooseA nice sense of mystery is build up around this, with Barbara saying “I never told anyone else about that summer,” and flashbacks filling us in on what exactly happened back when they were still teenagers. It’s a great look at the relationship between Barbara and Dick, their ongoing flirtation, friendship and ability to work as a team, and ends on a surprisingly poignant note.

There’s a strong sense of community throughout these issues, with Barbara not only calling on the assistance of other vigilantes, but people who contribute to society in other, equally important ways. It makes you feel as though Burnside is a place worth fighting for, despite all its flaws.

The artwork and colouring is also very good, finding the right combination of realism and splashy comic style. A nice touch was the difference in Batgirl’s costume between the flashbacks and the present-day story: as a teenager she wore grey and yellow; as an adult she wears purple.

Published in 2018. From the Eisner and Ignatz award-winning author Hope Larson comes the next chapter for Gotham vigilante Batgirl! Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson are a very different kind of Dynamic Duo. No matter how far apart their careers as Batgirl and Nightwing take them, they always seem to be drawn back together. But the true nature of their undeniable feelings for each other is a mystery even these world-class crime-fighters can’t crack. They’d better figure it out fast, because when a deadly villain from their past resurfaces, the star-crossed superheroes are forced to remember a time they’d like to forget. And once they realize that they’re caught in a trap years in the making, it may be too late for either of them to escape with their lives, let alone their hearts. Can Barbara and Dick defeat the powerful enemy behind it all? Or will this case be their last dance? Find out in Batgirl Vol. 3: Summer of Lies. Featuring art by Chris Wildgoose, Eleonora Carlini and Inaki Miranda and guest-starring Catwoman and the Mad Hatter, this story collects Batgirl #12-17.

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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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