Motor Crush 4 (March 2017)

Motor Crush #4

You know what happens to Motor Crush when Babs Tarr doesn’t get a lot to draw? It plods. This issue plods almost the entire way though, with Domino confronting her dad about her past and her dad storming off. She then pushes away the ex-girlfriend before robbing a rival gang of their speed drug. There’s a chase scene, but it’s complicated by Domino ripping off the drugs. The weak characterizations and scenes–and lack of Tarr dynamism–make this one a snoozer.

CREDITS

Writers, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart; artist, Babs Tarr; colorist, Heather Danforth; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Jeanine Schaefer; publisher, Image Comics.

Motor Crush 3 (February 2017)

Motor Crush #3

Motor Crush is starting to lose me a little. Fletcher and Stewart aren’t doing a lot with the characters, instead focusing on the melodrama. It’s early, so if they do rebound with some character development and not just cliffhanger mysteries, the book can easily recover. Tarr’s art is strong, with some ambitious composition layouts too.

CREDITS

Writers, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart; artist, Babs Tarr; colorist, Heather Danforth; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Jeanine Schaefer; publisher, Image Comics.

Motor Crush 1 (October 2016)

Motor Crush #1

Well. Motor Crush is absolutely awesome. It’s got a phenomenal pace, lots of action–Babs Tarr’s art is fantastic–and just the right amount of drama. Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher actually do a whole three act story this issue, all while doing a first issue. It’s very cool, with a great cliffhanger. And the lead just gets more appealing the more time you spend with her.

CREDITS

Writers, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart; artist, Babs Tarr; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Jeanine Schaefer; publisher, Image Comics.

Batgirl 40 (May 2015)

Batgirl #40

This issue of Batgirl is a little weird. Stewart and Fletcher sort of do an adaptation of… Captain America 2. Satellite going to shoot people from space because they’re bad or might someday be bad. Big plot point in that movie. In the previews, I believe. Just a few years ago.

Yet, here it is in Batgirl. Not the most original suspense plot.

The rest of the comic–except the way Stewart and Fletcher refer back to Killing Joke–is pretty good. Stewart and Tarr’s art has a lot of energy, with Tarr’s details giving the comic a distinct style of its own, not quite Stewart, not quite not.

The epilogue sort of reestablishes Batgirl again, which is way too many times, but it’s a reasonable setup for whatever comes next. Barbara’s still not a character, Dinah’s still not a character, but the writers are getting there. Just too gradually.

CREDITS

Ghost in the Cowl; writers, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher; pencillers, Stewart and Babs Tarr; inker, Tarr; colorist, Maris Wicks; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Dave Wielgosz and Chris Conroy; publisher, DC Comics.

Batgirl 39 (April 2015)

Batgirl #39

There’s a shocking amount of this comic book I don’t care about in the least. I’ve been tiring of Stewart and Fletcher’s somewhat incompetent Barbara, but at least they acknowledge her here. Sure, they make too many leaps of logic to get there, but they finally get to something.

The problem with Batgirl has been too much style over any substance. The creators are soft-relaunching a character (who’d just been soft-relaunched), integrating a whole bunch of difficult to mesh history, and trying to make the character younger. And they didn’t want to spend any time on Barbara. She had all the personality of a romantic lead in a gum commercial.

Do they give her a bunch more personality here? No. But Stewart and Fletcher do show they might be going somewhere and not somewhere defined by the comic’s pseudo-Brooklyn hipster thing. They’re working on their story.

Finally.

CREDITS

Batgirl vs. Burnside; writers, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher; pencillers, Stewart and Babs Tarr; inker, Tarr; colorist, Maris Wicks; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Dave Wielgosz and Chris Conroy; publisher, DC Comics.

Batgirl 38 (March 2015)

Batgirl #38

Something happens this issue of Batgirl. The gimmick starts to get a little old. Barbara using Batgirl to be popular on social media, Barbara going after a reality TV bad boy, Barbara dating a cop who thinks Batgirl is a menace. All of a sudden–and having Dinah point out all Barbara’s inconsistent behaviors doesn’t help–all of a sudden, Stewart and Fletcher seem like they’ve gone too far.

They’ve lost Barbara Gordon. Their new Barbara isn’t so much a soft reboot as an entirely new character. One who isn’t very bright, who’s kind of shallow, who’s not a particularly good protagonist. The reader is supposed to be second guessing her throughout the entire issue. Why read a comic where you’re not supposed to worry about the protagonist but about her being dumb?

There’s still some charm thanks to Tarr’s artwork, but the story apparently is stuck on loop play.

CREDITS

Likeable; writers, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher; pencillers, Stewart and Babs Tarr; inker, Tarr; colorist, Maris Wicks; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Dave Wielgosz and Chris Conroy; publisher, DC Comics.

Batgirl 37 (February 2015)

Batgirl #37

There’s a somewhat pointless plot twist at the end of this issue. It’s sensational, when the writers haven’t actually set up a point for it. They aren’t asking profound questions or making profound statements, they’re actually just making fun of their villain.

Which is, to some degree, a Batgirl thing to do.

Until that point, the issue is pretty good. There’s too little interaction between Barbara and Dinah though. Stewart and Fletcher use Dinah–to good effect–for comic relief, but they don’t have her functioning as a real character, which hurts this issue. Especially at the end when she pops in just because they need snark.

There’s some rather nice art from Stewart and Tarr during Batgirl’s action sequences too. Lots of foreground and background information important to the panel; they’re a good team.

It’s a rather well-executed comic, with lots of great moments… and a weak conclusion.

CREDITS

Double Exposure; writers, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher; pencillers, Stewart and Babs Tarr; inker, Tarr; colorist, Maris Wicks; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Dave Wielgosz and Chris Conroy; publisher, DC Comics.

Batgirl 36 (January 2015)

Batgirl #36

It’s another solid issue, with Babs stumbling onto a crime on campus. Stewart and Fletcher also introduce a few more supporting cast members–the issue ends with a sitcom-like tag with all of them, sans Dinah, who’s clearly a guest star. It gives Batgirl a nice feel, though the more impressive stuff comes just before.

Babs’s investigation leads her to a showdown with the bad guys, which is the second action scene in the comic. Between two action scenes and a lot of character stuff for Babs–not to mention Batgirl investigating–it’s a full comic book. The plotting is fantastic.

And, slowly, it’s starting to come together. Stewart, Fletcher and artist Tarr are trying really hard to establish Batgirl as a hip, yet incredibly competent comic book. Unfortunately, Babs is the single aspect of the book without a lot of character yet. She’s indistinct; getting better, but indistinct.

B 

CREDITS

Tomorrow Cries Danger; writers, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher; pencillers, Stewart and Babs Tarr; inker, Tarr; colorist, Maris Wicks; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Dave Wielgosz and Chris Conroy; publisher, DC Comics.

Batgirl 35 (December 2014)

Batgirl #35

It's the all-new Batgirl, which is mostly just a “Veronica Mars” in college where Babs solves hip crimes–the supervillain this issue is hacking phones and putting the embarrassing private information online. Why? Because he's a bad guy. And he's got a cybernetic brain and can hold his own with Batgirl in a fight.

Writers Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher write a painfully hip comic for hip comic reading college girls, but they do so with fervor and a real understanding of how to tell a story. For all the visual, modern gimmicks, this issue of Batgirl is just seventies DC Comics updated. The dressing is just a little different.

Babs Tarr's art is fine–Stewart handles the page layouts. Stewart and Fletcher do it like an episode of “Sherlock” how Babs sees the world with her photographic memory.

It feels a little too like Kate Bishop Hawkeye but it's successful enough.

CREDITS

Burned; writers, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher; pencillers, Stewart and Babs Tarr; inker, Tarr; colorist, Maris Wicks; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Dave Wielgosz and Chris Conroy; publisher, DC Comics.

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