BATGIRL #21 BY HOPE LARSON AND SCOTT GODLEWSKI
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
BATGIRL #21 features Batgirl teaming up with her father, Commissioner Gordon. Their unique dynamic makes for an interesting read. Also, the overall color scheme of this issue was visually pleasing.
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A DYNAMIC DUO!

With the end of an arc comes a new threat to Burnside. After foiling the plans of the Penguin and his son, Blacksun, in the previous issues, BATGIRL #21 features Batgirl teaming up with her father, Commissioner Gordon, on a new mission. There’s been a string of mysterious attacks targeting women in Burnside and this father-daughter duo are on the case. With an intriguing new storyline by Hope Larson and beautifully done artwork by Scott Godlewski, Batgirl and the Commissioner have quite the adventure ahead of them in BATGIRL #21.

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The Story Takes BATGIRL #21 Home

This issue opens with what I can only describe as a purple sludge monster. An oozing creature that is coming up from the drain and assaulting women in their bathrooms. With her only clue a tube of face cream, Batgirl follows the lead to the apothecary selling the product.

While there, she runs into her father, Commissioner Gordon, who is also searching for the culprit behind the attacks. When they agree to join forces, the plot shifts its focus on their interesting dynamic. Not only is it a father working alongside his disguised daughter, but it’s a member of law enforcement working alongside a masked vigilante.

BATGIRL #21 page 3
BATGIRL #21 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

BATGIRL #21 involves more detective work and less crime-fighting. Only one scene has a bit of action in it and that is when Batgirl and the Commissioner encounter the slimy creature. Later on in the issue, the monster emerges from the drain and attacks Commissioner Gordon.

The artwork is especially great when depicting the creature and its ability to change its composition from a liquid to a solid. When physical attacks fail, Batgirl injects bleach into the sludge monster’s system and it explodes, saving her father’s life. After working alongside the Commissioner, Barbara feels closer to her father. The last image of them enjoying a meal at a diner is very sweet.

Godlewski’s Cool Artwork

The art style of Scott Godlewski lends a nice smoothness to the sequence of events in BATGIRL #21. I like the use of rosy pinks and midnight blues as the overall color scheme. From a living room setting to the outside of a factory, most of the background is done in the same palette, making everything feel fluid and cohesive.

Those tones of color add a mildness and air of mystery to this issue. Godlewski really illustrates the monster and it’s oozing composition well. Especially during the scene when the Commissioner is attacked, the art captures the creature’s ability to shift from a gelatinous form to a hard, almost crystal-like shell.

BATGIRL #21 page 4
BATGIRL #21 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Just a Side Story?

Whether BATGIRL #21 is just a side story or the start of a new story arc is hard to say. This issue has built up a good foundation for a plot if Batgirl does continue to investigate. Hope Larson drops a couple breadcrumbs of hints to the even greater mystery of what exactly this sludge monster actually is.

However, it’s possible this issue can stand alone as a short adventure with the Commissioner. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Except for the slightly ambiguous ending, most of the story elements were wrapped up and the creature is assumed to be destroyed. Either way, I’m curious about what is next for Batgirl.

BATGIRL: Exclusive Interview with Writer Hope Larson

Father Daughter Bond

Although the Commissioner doesn’t know that Batgirl is Barbara, the two of them working together made their bond stronger. They rely on each other and bounce ideas off each other as they try to unravel the case. In BATGIRL #21, you can see how much like her father Barbara is when they both tackle a case.

With the relationship between law enforcement and masked vigilantes being tense, they seem to have a greater respect for one another now regardless. In the end, it was heartwarming to see them grow closer in their relationship as father and daughter. It would be nice to see them work together on future issues.

Check Out BATGIRL #21, Father Knows Best!

I love a good mystery, and BATGIRL #21 spends more time sleuthing rather than crime-fighting. The art style by Scott Godlewski brings a fluidity with the imagery of this issue. Hope Larson writes an exciting adventure for Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon while exploring their relationship.

The dynamic between father and daughter is the center of the story. How well they work together, and even how similar they are, is the force that drives the plot. If this issue is either the start of a new story arc or just a short one-shot, it was still a nice adventure with the Gordons that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

All and all, BATGIRL #21 is simply a great read.

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