Batgirl #30 goes back and forth on whether or not it wants to be an emotional requiem issue for Nightwing or a fun throw-away issue about a monster called The Midnight Man that teenagers summon during a night of underage drinking. It’s well-drawn, overwritten, and it could have been fun if only it had overcome its grief over the frustratingly vague demise of Dick Grayson and focused on the ridiculous task at hand for 20 uninterrupted pages.

Make no mistake, this is a filler issue and you can absolutely skip it, but it’s also a pretty entertaining one-shot story for Batgirl fans fond of the spirit world. Yes, there is much talk about Dick Grayson being “gone” and it’s evident that this should’ve been released after Forever Evil concluded but the creators and publisher did not slip up enough to totally let the cat out of the bag when it comes to whether or not “gone” is “dead” or what exactly caused Grayson to be “gone.” All we know is that Barbara misses him terribly. Oh, and there’s a giant sludge monster that inebriated teens released from the spirit realm.

Batgirl #30 is a goofy comic, but if you liked the previous two vampire-themed issues then I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of this simple narrative about putting a terrible thing back where it belongs. While her inner monologue rambles on and on about something that writer Marguerite Bennet struggles to connect with the current obstacle, the dialogue is actually quite on-point, upbeat, and funny at times and it’s easy to see Barbara Gordon’s charm. Another great strength of this issue is the artwork by Robert Gill, who created a menacing monster, a detailed environment with a great horror movie atmosphere, and an overall solid look for a Batgirl story. I wouldn’t mind seeing him stick with the series for a few more issues to see what else he’s capable of making.

More notes can be found in the spoiler tags below

Spoiler

  • So sage is a weakness of all supernatural beings? Is this something that’s been brought up in Justice League Dark or Batwoman? I feel like this is something that should be common knowledge to a lot of magic-themed heroes. Seems like a pretty important detail. You also gotta think some of these characters would just start packing sage in their utility belts at all time since this nonsense crops up so frequently and, let’s face it, sage can’t take up that much pocket space
  • While the final reveal of the new Midnight Man gateway being drawn around an entire building was cool it made no sense. How the heck did all of those ritual items end up in a barrel of paint? Did the kids throw it all away in there? Why the heck would they open a sealed paint barrel left out by a road crew and drop chalk, flowers, and whiskey into it? That’s absurd and I feel like it was an act kept off-panel because the writer/editor/illustrator knew it would look completely stupid.

Recommended If…

  • You’re just looking for some quick and silly escapism
  • Supernatural threats to Gotham are your favorite. The artist Robert Gill does a fine job bringing this sludge monster to life. The entire issue looks good, really
  • You are a casual reader looking to give the New 52 Batgirl a try– she’s quite fun and even funny in this issue so brace yourself for the overwhelming depression and gore prevalent in every other comic under this title

Overall

Batgirl #30 is an unnecessary done-in-one issue by a fill-in creative team, but it has its moments of fast-paced fun and humorous one-liners. The problem is when the heavy-handed writing attempts to address events in Forever Evil, but can’t. With all of Barbara’s talk about how much she misses Dick Grayson, you still won’t know if he’s alive or dead by the end of this issue– just that the’s missing. The requiem is wasted and serves as a distraction from the potential fun of facing down the monster called The Midnight Man.

SCORE: 5.5/10