Batgirl #13 Play-by-Play

August 16th, 2010 by | Tags: , ,

A new year, a new team, a newly-shifted love interest.

We start with Steph playing some ping-pong with a girl named Padma, which I only mention in case Padma becomes a recurring character.  For the most part the scene is pretty much just establishing Stephanie in her second semester at Gotham University and her identity as Batgirl. 

She gets a call from Proxy, who uses the word ‘po-po’ to refer to the police.  I would say that it’s illegal for girls named Wendy to use the slang term ‘po-po,’ but since I first heard it on an episode of Ugly Betty, I’m pretty sure that girls named Wendy are the only ones who do use that word.  Anyway, the police have cornered a guy suspected of murdering his wife in the financial district.  Steph’s on the case!

At the scene Detective Nick is trying to talk the guy out of a minivan, which I’m pretty sure anyone could do just by offering a convertible, (or a hybrid, if the guy’s an eco-nut), but he’s having no luck.  Gordon calls, demanding an update.  “Well, Jim, I asked him nicely.  I don’t know what more I’m supposed to do.” 

1.  Good line.

2.  I wouldn’t sass my boss and use his first name when I’m currently screwing up a situation.  I guess, though, that Gotham police die off so fast that they can get away with anything.  Even I could probably walk in and make detective, just for putting up with a one year life expectancy.

The guy throws out a gas can, which explodes, and runs off.  Nick gives chase.  He runs up a fire escape onto a roof, trying to reason with the guy. 

The man says “And you, policeman, you know what it’s like to lose a wife?”  Then there’s a panel of Nick with a ‘click’ sound effect.  I don’t actually know what either of those panels mean.  Was the guy taunting Nick?  Was it a rhetorical question or does he know something?  And what was the click?  Was it the gun cocking or did it misfire?  I’ll just turn the page.

The guy’s eyes go white, and mud shoots out of his arms, surprising everyone who didn’t see Clayface on the cover.  Nick gets knocked off the roof.  As he falls he says, “Sorry, babe.”

The next page is a splash of Stephanie grabbing him and flying him to safety.  “You’re the damsel in distress, here  And I loves me some cliches.”  At first it looked like she had him clamped between her thighs, and I thought DC was working awfully blue for a teen book, but then I saw she has him under her arm.  So she’s carrying her weight, and a grown man’s weight, while swinging on a chord.  No wonder she kicks ass at ping-pong.

Proxy teases Stephanie about how she likes Nick, and Stephanie is exactly as uncool about denying as I was, back in the day.  Sure, let’s use past tense about that.  Was.  Back to the book.  Proxy has tracked Clayface to a bank, but lost his signature – or whatever the hell – inside.  Stephanie jumps in and initiates a lock down.

She then, I guess, engages x-ray eye panels.  This looks okay on masks that are drawn with just white slits for eyes, but the batgirl suit has wide cut outs around the eyes.  For some reason, instead of turning the cut out all a different color, to show her engaging her x-ray specs, only Stephanie’s eyes – the whites and the irises – change color.  This is a problem because the villain is Clayface, and it’s been shown that his eyes change color and lose the iris when he reveals himself, so for a second it looks like she’s Clayface.  And then when we realize she isn’t, it just looks like she inserted x-ray panels into her eyeballs, and that’s more horrible than I can imagine.

But now to what she sees – nuttin.  No one in the bank is Clayface, and they’re not taking her word for it when she says that she’s not robbing the place.  They say that policy states she talk to one person – a woman.  The murdered woman.  Stephanie realizes why Clayface killed the woman in the first place, and tells everyone to stay put upstairs.

Clayface is trying to get into the vault, saying that he’s ‘reclaiming something [he’s] lost.’  So it looks like we’re going to be seeing more of the guy in upcoming issues.  Stephanie fights, and banters, and gets knocked through the ceiling into the bank above for her trouble.

Nick is  in the bank, explaining yet again that she wasn’t robbing the place.  God, these people do not learn.  He hears the sound of a person being knocked through a floor and turns to see two Batgirls fighting.  What a predicament.  Fortunately, he barely has time to turn his gun on them before Stephanie yells at him to shoot her.  Or.  Shoot herself.  She yells ‘shoot me.’  He promptly shoots the other one.  You know, I believe Captain Kirk came up with that response to evil twins, and it’s just a matter of time before evil catches on.  Then there are going to be a lot of shot heroes lying around.

But not this time.  Clayface de-disguises, the sprinkler system comes on, and Stephanie uses the freezerang that she used on Damian.  Honestly, I think Clayface will take being frozen way better than Damian did.  She asks Proxy to call a clean up crew.  Proxy asks if there’s a phone list around the Oracle cave for that kind of thing.  There isn’t.  Google it, Proxy.  I’m sure the Justice League phone lists have been published on the internet by now.

As they take Clayface away, I find out that no, Clayface won’t be coming back.  It wasn’t a mystery substance he was going to get.  It was just a picture of him and his dead wife.  You know, considering it is his property, I’m sure the doctors at Arkham would have given it to him if he’d asked.  Not like it has any sharp edges.  Oh well. 

Stephanie agrees with me, saying that it’s ‘messed up.’  Nick goes into angst mode, and says it’s not as messed up as she thinks.  I like you better in banter mode, Nick.  He ignores me, and walks away into the sunset.  Well.  We’ll definitely see him later.


Suckiness Advisory Warning:  Nothing big.  An occasional clarification of panels might be nice, but then again, maybe I’m just dense.

Interesting Irrelevant Detail:  Nick seems to be drawn younger and younger, and Stephanie is aging up pretty fast.  Does this mean there’s a chance for an actual romance, or will it continue to be a one-sided crush?  Tough to say.

Overall Awesomeness:  Everyone is getting along.  They’re trying to be good to each other, and help each other reach a common goal.  I cannot believe how rare this is in comics, but I’m really happy I’m getting it here.

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6 comments to “Batgirl #13 Play-by-Play”

  1. Maybe it’s just me, but I interpreted the splash page of Batgirl catching Nick (as you showed above) as an homage or shout out to Spider-Man’s first cover appearance.

    Just compare the two and try to tell me it’s nothing more than coincidence.

  2. I’m not reading this book so I have no real stake in who’s in a relationship with who, but the Steph/Nick thing does confound me a bit. When I was reading the book, he was presented as a love interest for Babs. Did the writer plan that relationship to continue, but not expect that Babs was essentially leaving the book for Birds of Prey? But given how Wendy was built up, he surely planned to replace her early on.

    The relationship just strikes me as kind of weird, given how much older he is and how he was initially going on dates with Steph’s mentor. It’s like when the planned relationship fell through due to Babs leaving, he just shifted Nick to being the love interest of the main character so he’d have some purpose in the book. Maybe the writer wants to live vicariously through him or something.

  3. @Space Jawa: The leg positions are different, but the overall catch is pretty close. Good eyes, Space Jawa.

    @Nat: I can’t be sure, but I think that’s exactly what happened. Nick was pretty much entirely Babs’ love interest when he was introduced, and they were pushed together pretty hard. Stephanie meets him and acts like a dork at, I think, issue 8-ish? That may have been when Babs leaving the book was official.

    The relationship so far is pretty one-sided, considering he hasn’t shown any romantic interest in Stephanie. She just has a crush on him. If it were to move on – honestly, there’s no point in figuring comic book ages. She’s 18-19, and he could be anywhere from 25-35.

    In a lot of ways, though, I would like this relationship better than the one that he had with Babs. Babs and Nick got off on the wrong foot, and fought. I’d rather not see another fighting couple. Stephanie and Nick banter, have fun, respect each other, work well together. That’s a nice change.

  4. I think the relationship with Nick happened because Babs was leaving, and because the characters had shown some cute chemistry (the “Hey You” from issue 4) and Miller decided to go with it.

  5. You know, I did once see a bad guy cotton on during one of those “hero grappling with villainous duplicate stand offs”. It was from the nineties X-Men cartoon, with Wolverine and a shapeshifting antagonist in a stand-off and Jubilee on the sidelines. The bad guy told her that because they couldn’t be told apart, she should blast them both, but she took it as a sign that he was the genuine article and attacked the real Wolverine instead.

  6. @versasovantare: Ooooh. That’s gotta be embarrassing.