By: Bryan Q. Miller (writer), Pere Perez (artist), Guy Major (colorist), Harvey Richards (assistant editor), Michael Siglain and Sean Ryan (editors)

The Story: Trust: Batgirl swings into action on her day off to tangle with Clayface. Detective McHandsome plays the lad in distress.

What’s Good: Miller delivers classic Steph in the first few pages when he shows us how she lives at college. And where Detective Nick has been a romantic plot tease for a year, Miller finally scratches beneath his surface. It’s subtle, but the view of what’s underneath jacks up the tension by laying the groundwork for some inner conflict and some romantic obstacles that Steph will have to face later if she gets to pursue Detective McHandsome. And, as always, I love the Artgerm cover. Has this guy done interior artwork anywhere?

What’s Not So Good: I was disappointed in multiple ways with Batgirl #13. While Steph seems switched on for the first few pages, as soon as she leaps into action, the exuberance and self-deprecating humor, while present, seem uninspired, less dimensional. Even the main conflict of the story seemed to lack gravitas. Miller, for some reason, failed to make me care about what the heck Clayface was up to or that he’d killed two people. That can’t be good. The loss of a powerful, charismatic and many-historied character like Barbara Gordon didn’t help either. Proxy lived up to her namesake in fulfilling the role, but without any fireworks. Since I’ve gotten used to the fireworks of the conflict between Batgirl and her mentor, a lot of the fun seems to be missing. Essentially they’ve paired one inexperienced, quip-cracking hero with another inexperienced, slightly less-quip-cracking hero. Lastly, it’s often unpleasant to switch artists, even if it’s a good one for another good one. We readers like our artistic ruts, so to speak. Perez has already put in work on a few issues of Batgirl with Garbett, so it’s not like they’ve turned the house keys over to the cable guy, but it feels a little like going on a road trip with your uncle instead of your dad. Nothing wrong with the uncle, in fact he even looks a little like dad, but…you know. Plus Steph has a dumb expression on her face on the credit splash page.

Conclusion: I’m not sure if the artist switch was the major turn off, but this issue didn’t come together for me and I can’t recommend it. I’ll tune in next month to see if this drop in fun was temporary.

Grade: C

-DS Arsenault