Batgirl #2 Play-by-Play

September 16th, 2009 by | Tags: , ,

Aaaaaaaaaaand cut it.

Stephanie is fighting a three guys in what looks to be an abandoned garage.  Two have guns.  One has what looks to be a nitrogen powered nail gun, which, and I’m googling now . . . does exist.  Good on you, Miller.  Incidentally, though, when you type ‘nitrogen powered’ into google, one of the suggestions it gives you is ‘nitrogen powered heineken bottle launcher’ and it would be cooler if they were fighting her with that.

Now, Steph hits the tank with a batarang, which causes it to explode.  Now, I believe the googled gun mentioned that nitrogen was inert, and therefore can sometimes be used to prevent fires or explosions.  However, liquid nitrogen can explode, but that explosion isn’t the gas igniting so much as a fast vaporization.  As far as I can tell, both are sold, and that is as much googling as I’m going to do for one page.

We flash back to Stephanie versus Barbara: The Waffle-Off.  Barbara asks Stephanie who the hell she thinks she is, and mentions the gang war that Steph started in regular continuity, but not my personal continuity.  So nyah.  When Steph blows that off, Barbara says:

“In fact, you are such a bad example that I used your autopsy photos to stop the last girl who wanted to be Batgirl.”

Let me supply several douchy but correct answers to that.

“Oh, you mean the girl you ‘adopted’ then abandoned without a word of goodbye?”
“Those weren’t my autopsy photos.”
“And from what I’ve heard, you have some pretty grim photos of your own.”

Enjoy those, new, cranky-Babs.  Do enjoy those.

We flash forward to the fight, in which Stephanie thinks that she is doing this to make up for her errors.  With respect: bullshit.  She’s doing it because she wants to and that?  Is the cool thing about this book.

She also temporarily blinds one of the men with the gas from a broken neon light.  Dude.  It looks to me like gas is the real hero, and it’s about time, too.  I hope propane gets a shout-out.

Flashback to breakfast: Stephanie storms upstairs while Babs keeps heckling her.

Now we’re in Gotham University, where Stephanie gets hassled by Jordanna.  They have a mild disagreement in a lecture, which I guess is supposed to be a big deal, and then Jordanna pushes Stephanie on the stairs outside the hall.  Stephanie drops her papers, and a cute guy helps her pick them up, calling Jordanna a ‘bitch’.  Then Jordanna comes back and hauls the guy off by the arm, which means she is either his friend or his girlfriend.  Stephanie thinks that this is ‘just like high school’.

Okay.  I am going to digress.  The only time I have ever seen people act like this is not college and not high school.  It has been in crappy high school comedies.  Really dumb, by-the-numbers movies.

The guys I knew in high school and college?  Didn’t hang out with girls they didn’t like.  The girls?  Didn’t have boyfriends who called them ‘bitch’.  There was no single girl clique who ruled the school, because, honestly, everyone had their own lives, with jobs, friends, crushes, studies, hobbies, projects and other things to distract them from obsessing about who was on top of the social order.  No, I don’t care what Tina Fey told you.  Yes, I know, I saw Mean Girls, but I’ve saw 30 Rock, too, and I don’t mistake it for reality.

Please, god, please, stop writing people this way.  Just stop.  Have them act like human beings.  I beg you.

In the Babscave, Barbara finds out that the kid who started the riot in last month’s issue had a hallucinogen in his blood that raised his adrenaline levels.

Steph wanders down Frat Row, at Gotham U Harvest Festival.  She wonders what Gotham harvests.  Crime?  Right on cue Jordanna stumbles up to her and throws her drink.  Then she collapses.  Seems to me that that wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow at a Frat Row party, but all of a sudden, a few people start running.  Really?  And you call yourselves college students. 

Steph, sensing shenanigans, puts on Batgirl uniform and runs after them.  The guys talk about how that wasn’t the way ‘the boss’ wanted things to happen, and Batgirl shows up and kicks their asses.  Kind of.  Oracle takes over the mics in the batgirlsuit and nags Stephanie to ‘watch her six’ and ‘go home’.

When Babs’ hard drive poops out, probably as tired as I am of the unrelenting negativism, they move to the Batcave, where the Batcomputers render a 3-D composite of all the cell phone pictures taken at the Harvest Festival, which is both a gross invasion of privacy and pretty cool.

Stephanie picks out one of the drug dealers from the . . . holograms, I guess?  They talk about the cases, and Barbara cranks it up a bit more.  She finishes by saying that one of the drug dealers went to the emergency room, saying he was attacked ‘by someone pretending to be Batgirl.’ 

Barbara’s VO box says, “And just like that, I suddenly realize I’m trying to break her on purpose.  And so does she.”

So that’s a point in the books favor.  But honestly.  No.  Just.  No more.  If I want to watch angry people being incredibly shitty to one another I’ll rent Revolutionary Road.

If I want the older, more experienced hero to go to the younger, less experienced hero and make the, “This is my town, you’re not good enough speech,” I’ll – I’ll never want that.  Ever.  I don’t think anybody does anymore.  If you like the new hero it’s annoying and discouraging.  If you don’t, it’s annoying and rote.  We’ve seen a story like it a million times, and I have never, ever, ever heard anyone say one good word about that kind of story.  It’s like an internet flame-war.   No matter what happens, everyone involved comes off looking like a jerk.

I will now add to my ‘please-write-teenagers-like-humans; speech.  Please.  No one ever do a story new-hero-has-to-prove-themselves.  Ever again.  At any time.  With any character.  For any reason.

Okay, last few pages.  The head drug dealer is caught by the police, but ‘his boss’ springs him by drugging one of the police officers with the rage-drug.  There is a quick cameo by Detective Nick Gage, and yes, he has love-interest-face.  Good god, that’s a square jaw.

And it turns out the ‘Boss’ is the Scare Crow.


Interesting Irrelevant Detail:  One you are drugged with the rage-drug, you develop Evil Twin Syndrome.  Suddenly you have bushy dark eyebrows, dark circles around your eyes that make you look like the world’s only carnivorous panda, and a psycho’s smile.  Watch your friends and loved ones, people!  Only you can avert Evil Twins. 

Suckiness Advisory Warning:  I think I covered that in the main body of the review.  Oy vey.  Don’t break my heart, Batgirl.  Please.

Overall Awesomeness Level:  Tragically low.  There is a cool shot of Batgirl subtly sillhouetted against the moon in the background of the second-to-last page.  The art is still good, with a wide variety of character expression, and young people clearly differentiated from adults.  Judging from the solicits, the next issue she’ll have a fight alongside Batman and the New Robin, which could be good.  The fourth issue says it will be her ‘first night on the job’ which means she’ll earn Babs’ grudging respect in issue three and they can stop the sniping.  Finally, there is not only a new costume coming, but a DKR shout-out on the cover of issue four, which looks to be pretty fantastic, so I live in hope for two of my favorite characters.

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2 comments to “Batgirl #2 Play-by-Play”

  1. Y’know Esther, your apparent emotional investment in the idea and character of Batgirl might here be proving itself not to be advantageous in any way shape or form. It might do you good to rethink it a wee bit, especially in the face of this particular comic. After reading it in the shop and then reading this post it’s obvious it has three, maybe four, scenes/lines that are not totally cliche and pointless.

    It honestly makes me pine for a Batgirls of Prey type book done with a massive amount of compression and by a competent writer. Get Pete Tomasi off friggin’ Outsiders and have him write that. Even better, get Gail Simone in here to write said book. In the end there are far more appropriate books/characters/concepts that new writers to the DCU can cut their teeth on than this one.

  2. Emotional investment is the only draw a lot of DC characters have these last few years. Who would buy Teen Titans if not for it’s legacy characters, cartoon show, or nostalgia for the Wolfman/Perez run?
    Batgirl is a legacy character for a legacy mantle, fighting other people’s villains, continued from multiple storylines from at least four other books – I think it’s safe to assume this is not a book for new readers but for long-time fans who know what the hell all these references to other books and stories are.

    It’s just a pity those same fans seem to have a lot of perfectly reasonable beefs with the title because of poor characters, flip-flopping personalities, and even plain old bad pacing, dialog, and lack of direction. This would be a poor book even without Batgirl and the continuity porn.