This Batman: Endgame tie-in gives us the “Battle for the Burnside Bridge” starring Batgirl attempting to rescue a busload of characters trying to escape a hoard of “gigglers”. It all takes place at a barricade set up at the Burnside bridge. If you’re also reading Batgirl and wondering which of the two books you should read first, I would say Batgirl no. 40 as this contains very mild spoilers for things that happen in Batgirl’s regular series.
The artist identified only as Bengal does a nice job capturing a tone similar to Babs Tarr’s artwork in the regular series. Covering both rendering and colors, the artist has chosen a palette that’s fiery and appropriately apocalyptic (heavy browns, greys, oranges, and yellows)
This is a short event with lots of big half-page panels and it’s all action, which gives it lots of room to breathe. The rendering is not overly detailed and there’s an abundance of blank space as the environment is mostly ghosted in bits of the bridge and plenty of sky. But it helps to keep the focus on the figures and add an air of disorientation which works well given the predicament. The sequence of the bus is especially thrilling.
We get to see the Fox family (Lucius, Tanya, and Tiffany), though they don’t really do much here. Also, though the comic does have some sound effects and some lettering on a variety of mobile devices, it is otherwise a “silent” book. Other than the Joker’s laughter, no character ever speaks and there are only three “word” balloons inconsistently used (one to convey Batgirl’s thoughts, another to convey a texting icon, and the final one to give Batgirl a “phew” gasp). Conceptually it’s interesting, but does it work?
Batgirl to the rescue!
It only sort of works. It’s not really a story. It’s a silent rescue vignette in which the silence maybe doesn’t even make sense. In one panel, Babs puts a finger to her lips to indicate to be quiet, but all of the pictures show panicked people running, gigglers, rescue operation people (cops, firefighters, etc.) gesturing and open-mouthed, so it feels like the conceit is false. Tanya, at one point is clearly screaming because she’s lost Tiffany in the scrum.
That’s all fine except that the story isn’t treated as though people are actually talking but we can’t hear them. Babs is close enough for Tiffany to read her sign language, but then why doesn’t she just shout out? She’s clearly not in immediate danger if she can just stand there and gesture. Or here’s a thought: she’s texting the girl, she could just send instructions that way. This is another case for Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher in which the idea (a silent comic book) doesn’t really work in its execution given the scenario (or at least is inconsistently applied). If there was a reason that the characters couldn’t speak including through their phones, or if the conceit was they are talking but he don’t hear them, it would have been much more successful.
As a side note, Batgirl puts on a gas mask to fight the gigglers but none of the Fox family are wearing masks and they manage to not get infected. Not real sure how that’s supposed to work. And frankly, I don’t think I’ve never seen Batman not put the mask on the innocent civilian to protect them first, even at the risk of his own safety. If Batgirl hadn’t bothered with the mask at all, I wouldn’t thought anything of it, but its specific inclusion draws strange and unnecessary attention to itself.
This tie-in contributes little to nothing to either Batgirl or Batman: Endgame. While I typically enjoy some flavoring on the side of a big story (and even enjoyed this in some ways), it’s ultimately pointless. There’s hardly even anything in the execution that makes purchasing it warranted. I did laugh at the pile of poo thought icon, though. Maybe that about sums it up.
- You want to see Batgirl doing something that doesn’t involve whining and is mostly independent of her regular series.
- You’re a rabid Endgame completist. Surely there must be some of you out there.
A quick read that contributes nothing unique or necessary to either the current Batgirl title or Endgame, if you’ve already purchased this, chances are you found it mildly entertaining as I did or you’re seething at the waste of it all. With the possible reactions at such antipodes, I couldn’t help but give this a perfect middle-of-the-road score.