Batgirl #5 Play-by-Play

December 11th, 2009 by | Tags: , , ,

Immediate cut!

In the last issue; everyone except Barbara was really mean to Stephanie, and Devil’s Square was a really, really bad place to live, even by Gotham standards.

This issue starts out with Devil’s Square being an even crappier place to live, what with a gigantic fire.  The fire is consuming what a real estate mogul being interviewed by a reporter says was a state-of-the-art homeless shelter.  For those of you in the know, Real Estate Mogul is code for Bad Guy, like Oil Magnate or Pharmaceutical Company CEO, or Child’s Birthday Clown.  Given that and the fact that the reporter mentions said mogul by name, and you know that Stefano Gracia is going to make our heroine miserable by the end of the issue.  Oh, and it looks like his son is Francisco, that charmer who called his girlfriend a bitch with PMS a few issues ago.  Glad to see you, Francisco.  I was so worried that the writer was going to realize that you were a hugely unlikeable character and drop you.

Inside the blazing shelter, a guy named Diesel is running around spreading flames.  Stephanie swings in and throws around batarangs and buffy quotes.  She and Diesel banter about the fact that he has gasoline for blood, and she tries freezing him with freeze-batarangs.  It doesn’t work.

Batman (Dick) and Robin (Damian) swing into the action.  Damian pins Diesel to the ground, not realizing that he bleeds gas and the building is on fire.  Well, I assume that he know the building is on fire, but he isn’t aware that something terrible is just about to happen.

And something terrible does happen, but because of Stephanie, it’s a wonderful kind of terrible.  She throws the freezerangs in the general direction of Damian and – heh.  The big disappointment in this issue is that we don’t get to see his face.

A page later, Dick and Barbara argue over who has the worst trainee and trip all over Dick’s Bruce issues.  Since I never need to see either of those things again for as long as I live, that’s all I’ll say about it.

Meanwhile, Damian is warming up and Stephanie is keeping him company.

Damian:  “I hate you.”

Stephanie’s Monologue Box:  “Join the club.”

Good one, Steph.  And also, ouch.

Damian vocalizes the thoughts of thousands of Cass fans when he says that he wishes Cassandra were there.  She’d beat you to death, Damian.  Be glad you got Stephanie.

We cut to the library, where Francisco and Jordanna (the girl he called a bitch) are fighting (does anyone do anything else in this issue?) about the “shady stuff” his dad is involved in (the comedy rule of three says I should put something in here, but I got nothing).  Stephanie leans in and hears Francisco saying that his dad is “just out for one thing – – protecting his family.”  No indication, yet, about whether we’re talking about a Kent kind of family or a Batclan kind of family or a Huntress’ dad kind of ‘family’.  Jordanna notices Stephanie spying and storms off.  Francisco asks Stephanie if she’s game for getting some fresh air.

Stephanie, I assume that you have the sense god gave a – no.  No, of course you don’t.  Still, please tell me that your interest in this guy is purely professional.  I know that Tim turned into a jerk at the end of your relationship and the beginning of Red Robin, but that doesn’t mean you need to pick up a guy who starts out as a jerk.  You’re Batgirl!  Have some pride!

Fortunately, before I can get too worked up about this, we change scenes to a coffee shop, where Barbara is sitting one booth away from a male love interest who doesn’t make me want to grind my teeth.  Hello, Sergeant Nick!  She’s waiting for her dad.  He’s waiting for her dad, they both figure out that they’ve been set up at the same time.  Aww.

Pity one page later they’re fighting.


Next page!  Oh.  It’s Francisco and Stephanie.


Next page.  It’s Damian.

You know what?  I’ll take it.  See, when he gives a speech about how much Stephanie sucks, we all know he’s supposed to be a jerk, so it’s kind of funny.  That’s a leg up on everyone else.  Stephanie explains that he doesn’t really understand what she and Barbara are trying to do.  They want to give people hope, not just fear.  Then she tells him to stop looking at her chest.  Good points, Stephanie.

Too bad you negated them by mooning over Francisco again.  She spots him in a coffee shop, changes into Barbara’s clothes and attempts a ‘funny meeting YOU here’ conversation.  Francisco doesn’t seem interested, instead telling her to run.  Just what I’ve been saying, Francisco!  You read my mind.

Next thing we know, a bunch of guys in ski masks are pouring into the coffee shop and kidnapping him.  Stephanie fights them and seems to do pretty well, until she turns to see one with a gun pointed at her head. 

And he shoots her.  Yeah, even I know that they won’t kill her off this fast.  Place your bets: rubber bullets for a fake kidnapping or incredibly lucky shot?

Interesting Irrelevant Detail:  It seems that Damian is never without a hood.  So far I’m not sure what to make of this beyond deciding that evil has no use for peripheral vision or cold ears.

Suckiness Advisory Warning:  Well, there’s Francisco, who only digresses from mind-boggling blandness by being a sub-par human being.  And as I said, when Damian is a jerk to people, it’s entertaining.  That’s what he’s supposed to be doing.  When everyone else does it, it’s just unpleasant.

Overall Awesomeness Level:  But, again, when he does it, he is very, very entertaining.  And he’s in the next two books.  I foresee goodness.

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11 comments to “Batgirl #5 Play-by-Play”

  1. “She’d beat you to death”

    reason #25 I miss facemask asian batgirl.

  2. Totally the best panel in this issue.
    Damian was pretty good in this one in general. Doesn’t he make a weird Charlie Brown face when Steph storms off?

    Also, that guy’s name is Francisco? I hope his name’s an awful/awesome/goofy pun like that Dan Francisco guy from Judge Dredd.

  3. I think I’d like this book a more if it just embraced the madness of the world it takes place in a little more. But then again, I’ve never been terribly interested in the “average person who is a superhero overcomes average person things” storyline. The scenes with over-the-top characters like Damian are pretty good, but the ones with Steph spying on and interacting with her love interest are just bland and terrible. I have no interest at all in the future boyfriend or the detective guy, and it pains me immensely that Cassandra will probably never be a supporting character (though that may be editorial’s fault) in favor of these mostly uninteresting characters.

  4. Did anyone else find it a little odd that Batgirl could apparently hear Francisco talking while she was sitting on a rooftop and he was in a café across the street? Did Barbara install a device that gives her super-hearing?

  5. @jango: @jango: Well Steph does have a “Bat” in her name. So she probably bugged him, because that is the kind of dickery you have to do when you’re part of the Bat-Family…

  6. Speaking of Batgirl, there’s a scene that either Esther or David brought up once that I wouldn’t mind seeing for myself. Sorry if this is an overly trivial thing to ask about, but it sounded amusing so I’d like to check it out.
    As I recall, it involves Nightwing trying to explain Bludhaven to Cassandra Cain as being like Gotham’s skeevy cousin or something, and making weird gestures to articulate it.
    I just wanted to know what issue it’s from. Or series at least.

  7. @versasovantare: Sadly I can’t help you. I read about that in scans_daily, but I’ve never seen it, and I’m beginning to think someone mixed up fanfiction with cannon.

  8. awwww.

  9. @versasovantare: The scene is never actually shown. It’s just mentioned by Cass when she’s on her way to Bludhaven in Batgirl #58, I believe.

  10. Nat’s right. I think Cass says that Nightwing calls Bludhaven Gotham’s “wicked stepsister”, and when she doesn’t get the reference, he tells her about Cinderella, acting it out for her.

  11. Cheers, for filling me in.