This is the cover to Batgirl #41, for DC’s June mini-relaunch. Featuring the new-look Batman. And very much in fitting with the pop style of the comic book, that has relaunched Batgirl in a fresh, youthful, exciting fashion away from depressing themes and tones that had previously been associated with the book.
Also in June, DC Comics is running “Joker Variant” covers, featuring characters from the comics juxtaposed with The Joker. And the Batgirl #41 cover is certainly of a different tone, as shown by DC’s media partner CBR,
It reflects the Killing Joke story in which Barbara Gordon was shot in the spine by the Joker, but in a far more lurid fashion. It does seem diametrically opposed to the current Batgirl comic book in terms of style, and also seems rather in contrast with the female empowerment theme that the book has embraced as well. Indeed, the comic has been totemic for this approach in the industry right now, alongside Ms. Marvel, so giving this new mini-relaunched Batgirl a cover in which she is visibly upset and abused by the man who once crippled her, does seem to be a little counter-intuitive. And the direction of the gun does give the whole thing a very disturbing sexual overtone.
It is worth knowing however that the variant cover programme is commissioned and designed by a different department separate to the editorial for the book. It’s likely that the creative team of Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr would have been unaware of the cover until CBR posted it.
Odds are they probably feel as bad as you do about it.
Equally, this will have been a piece commissioned from Rafael Alberquerque, and will have been delivered as requested. He will have done as he will have asked.
Here’s another question though. In the light of a certain Powerpuff Girls cover, a GI Joe cover and a Spider-Woman cover, can an outraged social media campaign persuade DC to change their minds on this one?