This review contains spoilers for BATGIRL #19. Proceed with caution, my friends.

Whenever a comic begins a new arc, there’s a chance that things could get a little slow. BATGIRL #19 definitely falls into this category. Yet that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This issue offers some breathing room in Batgirl’s larger story and sets up what’s sure to be an intriguing tale going forward.

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BATGIRL #19: Burnside On Thin Ice

The story starts as Babs intercepts a pretty amusing incident at a donut shop, where it turns out our baddies were just hired actors. While observing the scene, Batgirl comments on how cold it is despite a mild weather forecast. Things get even chillier when a snowstorm blusters in, more or less immobilizing the city. Burnside isn’t Gotham, however, so instead of causing chaos and rioting, the people — including the Penguin and Poison Ivy — come together to make the city as functional as possible. So it’s kind of delightful, honestly.

BATGIRL #19 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Sounds like an upbeat story, right? Nah. Babs finds out that the American Weather Association is showing clear skies over the area. She suspects sabotage and finds some evidence in AWA’s server room pointing to S.P.U.R. — an anti-regulation and anti-science group she’s run into before.

When Batgirl confronts this organization, she discovers that they’ve given up the climate sabotage game. They insist that the government has pretty much done their climate-ruining job for them. The whole scene is rather funny, in a twisted sort of way (it’s just so real). After an entertaining scuffle, Babs gets a message from her friend, Qadir, that the government lab he works for is being ransacked. The blizzard was a distraction, enabling this crime.

A Slow Burn(side)

This is a pretty slow issue, but it does a great job of setting up something cool to come. The book is entertaining and offers a few laughs in the right places. It even finds a home for a political jab.

In that way, writer Hope Larson offers exactly what the series needs right now. It’s what makes BATGIRL a great book in the sea of intense titles that DC offers. This issue won’t make readers eagerly turn the page to see what happens next, or gasp in awe at the end. It doesn’t have to. BATGIRL #19 a pleasant read, and that’s all it needs to be.

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A Good Look

The real heroes of BATGIRL #19 are Chris Wildgoose, Jose Marzan Jr., Mat Lopes, and Deron Bennett. This art team brings a bright tone to the story and transports you to Burnside instantly. Images like the Penguin barreling through the snow on a sled really take the book up a notch. The characters are expressive and lovable — even the ones we’re kind of rooting against like S.P.U.R. and the actors.

Babs’s cold weather outfit is pretty great too, and I would wear her jacket every damn day. I actually found myself distracted by it throughout the book, which just goes to show that this art is the star. So just looking at these pages can put you in a good mood. That’s exactly what a BATGIRL issue should do.

BATGIRL #16 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Looking Ahead

Overall, the book is a good setup in need of a spike. It’s our first taste of the “Cold Snap” storyline, and it does the job of piquing interest. It’s hard to make a book that’s almost 100% rising action worthwhile, but this issue accomplishes that.

So the government lab has now piqued our interest. Who’s robbing it, and why? What exactly is Qadir’s job there? He was understandably secretive about it, but that only makes us want to know everything even more. So we’re now looking forward to the next issue — the sign of a book that’s done its job.

It’s enjoyable and fun, but it isn’t stellar. It keeps you on board but makes you want the next issue more than anything. So hopefully BATGIRL #20 will grappling-hook us in more.

BATGIRL #19 by Hope Larson, Chris Wildgoose, Jose Marzan Jr., Mat Lopes, and Deron Bennett
This is a fun issue, but it isn't exactly gripping. It sets up something interesting to come, and it's quite enjoyable, but it doesn't shock or amaze. The pace is slow and pleasant, which makes it a good read. It's truly the art that makes the book so uniquely BATGIRL.
73 %
A Good Setup
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