Batgirl #16 Review

What is it all about? With a lot of mystery surrounding the identity of the Red Queen in the last couple of issues, it all comes to a head in Batgirl Issue #16. We get a lot of information to fill in the pieces. Batgirl and Nightwing may have figured out who the Red Queen is, but they’re not out of the woods yet. Spoilers are stuffed in this review, so let’s dive into Batgirl #16.

The Review

We start with a flashback of high school Batgirl and Robin busting in on a few crooks who seemed up to no good in the last issue. Apparently, these crooks were screwed over by Ainsley, Batgirl’s old friend. They learn Ainsley dropped out of M.I.T. due to a drug addiction to a nanotech-based drug. Batgirl and Robin later tail Ainsley inadvertently to an addiction support group where they learn Ainsley was sent to Seaboard Recovery Center.

In the present, Batgirl and Nightwing go to Seaboard to try to get some more information. Once there, they find the doctors wrecking up the place. Batgirl discovers the Emoji song that played in the last issue (who would’ve guessed that would come back into play?) is the key to triggering the nano-drug. As a result, they manage to subdue the whacked-out doctors.

This is where we get the biggest bombshell of the arc. Ainsley is dead. She passed away a few years ago. The saddest part is she died homeless, suffering from an OD in the gutter. That’s when they discover Ainsley had a sister, Edith, and Nightwing deduces Edith is the Red Queen. It makes sense. All the evidence points to her, and she has a motive: losing a sister.

The issue ends on a flashback with Batgirl and Robin busting the Mad Hatter’s operation. Plus, Ainsley is there.

Final Words

In my previous reviews, I speculated Ainsley was most likely the Red Queen. It seemed too much like a red herring (pun not intended), but Ainsley’s sister being the true Red Queen makes a lot more sense.

Honestly, this issue is a vast improvement upon the last two. For the other issues in this arc, I had a real problem with the balancing act of emotions. One moment Batgirl and Nightwing are cracking jokes, and the next moment someone gets incinerated.

This issue much more masterfully balances the emotions. There is still some humor; the issue even starts with a poop joke. However, the humor doesn’t distract from the emotional crux of the issue. When I read that Ainsley had died in such an anticlimactic matter, it really struck a chord. I kept expecting Ainsley to return to the present storyline, but she’s gone. This issue exceeded my expectations, and I’m excited to see what comes next.

8.5 / 10

Reviewed by Mike Bedard Batgirl #16 Written by Hope Larson Art by: Chris Wildgoose, Jose Marzan Jr., Andy Owens, Mat Lopes Published by DC Comics Release Date: 10/25/2017

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