Batgirl #9 Play-by-Play

April 14th, 2010 by | Tags: , ,

Spoilers, of course.

We open on the smartest criminal ever to hit Gotham’s streets; Johnny C.

“Who,” you ask?

The guy with dynamite around his waist, planning to bomb a train. 

“That doesn’t sound so smart,” you say.

And you’d be right, except that this guy’s rant actually makes sense. 

“Johnny C. does want to hurt people . . . . If this works, maybe – just maybe – people will get the damned hint and leave Gotham.  I mean, seriously – why the hell does anyone live here anymore?”

Because otherwise Batman would just be petulantly wandering around a deserted city.  ‘HelLO!  I am VENgeance!  I am the NIIIiiight!  Someone pay attention to me!”

Stephanie is getting dragged along behind the train, but manages to climb over it, have Oracle cut the lights, take out the guy, and get a round of applause from the passengers.  She responds to the clapping with, “All in a day’s work, um, citizens.”

Don’t go that way, Stephanie.  Sure, you seem like sixties Batman now, but in just a few decades you’ll be subtracting all the personal pronouns from your internal monologue and being a dick to your allies and being played by Christian Bale.  Just keep smiling and getting pats on the back from the Commissioner. 

Back at the university, Wendy and Barbara listen to a radio report about an upcoming rainstorm and talk about Wendy’s origin story while trying not to make it seem completely ridiculous.  They fail, but that’s hardly their fault.  The friggin’ Wonder Dog at Wendy’s brother, for crying out loud.  Wendy’s still working hard on being bitter, and I can’t say that I blame her.  Stephanie walks in and Barbara gets her coat.  It’s time to get down to business.

Instead of seeing what Steph and Babs are up to, we switch to Saint Nick and Jim Gordon looking over a murder scene, the rendering of which must have depleted national stores of red ink.  It seems the victim was an office worker who just got up out of his cubicle, locked himself in a spare room, and killed himself.  There’s also a metallic smell in the room, according to Nick.  Gordon remarks that Nick likes unusual cases (Mysterious Past Alert!) and hands the case over to him.

Babs, meanwhile, is showing Stephanie around her Oracle cave.  It is not as impressive as the Batcave, in that the roof is leaking.  And since they’re underground, under and apartment building, and therefore not getting rained on, I’m thinking that’s . . . let’s just call it ‘shower water.’  Ew.

Back to the office building.  An alarm goes off.  Nick goes to figure out what’s going on, leaving a female office worker alone.  The phone rings.  When she picks it up, it reads off a series of zeroes and ones to her.  She repeats that series, as the area around her eyes starts to build up what looks like a circuit board. 

Here’s why, even if this weren’t magic-as-science, that plan would never work.  I’ve answered phones for companies before, and as soon as I realize it’s a computer calling?  I hang up.  As would any other wage-making employee.  That was a long series of codes, and frankly, no one has time for that when they can be wondering about whether or not they can catch a quick nap in the bathroom.

Now if that code were embedded in a flamewar online, half the world would be assimilated.  Still.

Nick charges off in the direction of the alarm and finds a guy in a security guard’s uniform with a briefcase and a gun.  Nick accidentally drops his own gun.  The guy has circuit eyes.  Saint Nick?  You’re about to be a martyr, as well.

But wait!  A batarang knocks the gun from the guard’s hand.  So he does the next logical thing.  He goes out the window.   Stephanie tries to catch him with her grapple gun, but the line slips off his foot and he dies.

At the morgue, Stephanie broods, and the morgue tech finds ‘weird metal in his blood.’  If they survived for more than a year in the morgue in Gotham, I don’t believe a tech would find anything weird, but okay.

Stephanie gets a sample of the blood back to Oracle, and she finds little micro-metal-bugs attached to the red blood cells.  She calls up shipping manifests of the company that was robbed and finds that they have been hoarding technology from Apokolips.  She orders Stephanie back to the cave, explaining that, “He’s coming.”

The female office worker walks, with the briefcase that the guard stole, to a rural farmhouse.  The man inside, Calculator, takes the briefcase from her and tells her to kill herself, which she does.

Dude.  Johnny C has a point.

Calculator turns to a decomposing corpse on the chair next to him and says, “Marvin, my boy, my son, we’re going to get your sister back.  We’re going to save Wendy.  And you won’t want to miss the best part.  The part where I murder Oracle.”

I think Marvin has missed it, Calcy.  I know you’re disappointed, but maybe it’s time to make a new plan.


Random Irrelevant Detail:  Marvin the Kid and Marvin the Corpse both appear to be wearing the same puffy down-filled vest.  Considering the way those things leak through even the slightest scratch, that Wonder Dog had to be fantastically precise killing machine.

Suckiness Advisory Warning:  Come on, DC.  Is there no book I can read that doesn’t have a Dead Kid storyline?  I know that this, at least, is a villain’s kid, so you’re not grimming up a perfectly good hero, but damn it, I hate Dead Kid storylines.

Overall Awesomeness Level:  Pretty high, despite the Dead Kid story.  There wasn’t too much angst despite the slipped jump line.  Calculator’s a good villain for Oracle.  And I always love stories where Stephanie gets dragged through the air behind something fast.  The poses and dialogue are so dynamic and fun for scenes like that.  And again, Johnny C.  Voice of Reason.

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8 comments to “Batgirl #9 Play-by-Play”

  1. Wow, Johnny C has to be like, THE smartest person Gotham has seen in like…ever. I may have to actually go back and get this issue now.

    But that would also mean I’d probably have to start buying the series regularly, and I’d have to see how that fits into my current lineup. So yeah.

    Still, totally agree with you on Johnny C. He sounds like he could make for a wonderful reoccurring character. Maybe even a new villain! Johnny C. – the batvillain who commits crimes because he hopes it’ll get people to move somewhere with a less insane crime rate. Yeah, if they did THAT, then I’d totally have to add it to my pick list.

  2. LOL, I loved Johnny C.

    Did you catch Oracle drinking a bottle of wine at the start of the comic? It’s bugging me that that wasn’t explained or mentioned.

    I think I’m still in denial about the whole Wonder Dog thing. Add to that, I’ve come to loathe Calculator vs. Oracle stories, given Oracle: The Cure and that last story-arc at the end of BoP, I was almost tempted to drop the book until it’s over. Almost.

    Oracle needs more interesting rogues.

  3. Oracle needs more interesting rogues.

    This is true of every damn non-Batman character in the Bat-family, though. Hey, name three good Dick Grayson villains! Alternatively, name a single goddamn rival for Tim, despite having his own friggin’ book right now.

  4. I’m sure DC editorial will get around to bringing back Steph’s kid so that they can..I don’t know. Blow her up or turn her into a giant slug monster that Steph has to tragically destroy or something…

  5. @Maddy: What needed explaining about the wine?

  6. I liked Nite Wing as a Nightwing villain. Torque was meh

  7. @Maddy: I didn’t catch that, but you’re right, the wine is prominent. She’s just having a glass, so maybe it’s just a kind of a relaxation thing for her.

    I looked at the label on the bottle, and it reads ‘1470’. At first I thought that Oracle just drinks some *really* old wine, but when then I saw the ‘U.S. Chardonnay’ written under it. Since there was no U.S. in 1470, that was a bust.

    THEN I googled ‘1470 U.S. Chardonnay,’ and got taken to a California winery page. Apparently, Foppoli Wines makes a line(?) of Chardonnay wines called 1470.

    Searched ‘Foppoli Bryan Q Miller’ and ‘Foppoli Nick’ and ‘Foppoli Gage’ (He told me in his interview that Detective Nick Gage got his name from two of Miller’s friends, so I thought it might be a plug or a payoff for likeness rights or something), but I got nothing. I’m out of internet detectiving, and I’m just going to assume that Miller likes those wines. Or maybe one of the artists does.

    @LurkerWithout: Always the optimist, you.

    @el_Benito: I didn’t care for Nite-Wing. I don’t like not-good superheroes. They either make me sad or angry.

  8. I did a wine tour last weekend which coincidentally included the Foppoli winery. I happened to be wearing a Flash t-shirt and the owner promptly brought out bagged copies of Batgirl #1 and #9, explaining that Miller and his wife visited the winery and included the bottle in the comic as a nod.