Batgirl #21 Play-by-Play

May 13th, 2011 by |


We open on Spoiler, trapped under rubble, with a villain in a super-suit, one of the Reaper gang, stalking her.  It seems Clancy, AKA Johnny C, AKA The Grey Ghost brought her here via a distress signal and now she’s about to die.


No, DC won’t kill her off.  Not after the last hubbub about her.  She even makes a joke about never dying.  “I”m annoying like that.”  Then she shoots a line that pulls her clear of the rubble and exposits the events of the last few issues; AKA the Reapers gained tech suits, murdered the guy who gave the suits to them, and now one of them -armed with a sound gun – is sneaking around an abandoned convent.  Stephanie banters with the woman in the suit, to distract her from noticing that the walls are rigged to explode and come down.  They do, the woman is trapped, and Steph goes to rescue Johnny C.

Meanwhile, Wendy is on a rooftop, talking to the ghost of her dead brother.  Or a hallucination of her dead brother.  As long as it’s not a dead cat, I’m content.  The gist of the conversation?  She ain’t happy.

Stephanie wanders into a room where Johnny C is on the ground.  He happened to see Harmony, the villain, sneaking in and followed her.  He tries to croak out “Beware the Grey Ghost,” which is the Grey Ghost’s motto, but only gets the first word.  Stephanie frees him.  In the background, they hear Harmony cranking up again.  Stephanie tries to figure out why Johnny’s out on the street, since he clearly doesn’t care that much about keeping Gotham safe.  He tells her, “Screw Gotham – I just want you safe.” 

Stephanie lets him down hard.  “That’s precisely why you don’t get to come along . . . I’m sorry, Grey Ghost, but if I cross paths with you again . . . Beware.”  Nice.

But Johnny C doesn’t seem to think so.  I see some bitterness as he watches her leave.

Over to Wendy again.  She’s with Leslie, who seems to think that Wendy’s spinal injury isn’t as serious as Barbara’s and Wendy can recover from it.  Ghost/Hallucination Marvin looks on.  Leslie tells Wendy that she needs to get a little happier, and asks her if she’s got a valid passport.

Stephanie does battle with Harmony, who is trying to rob a grave.  I like that Stephanie’s getting a lot more confident.  She talks about how she’ll probably find a way to stop Harmony in the next few minutes.  She’s really working her way up from her pratfall-laden early days as Batgirl.  She gets to the top of the convent and drops a bell on the floor.  The resulting ‘Boooonnnnngggggg,’ blows out Harmony’s sound guns, and lets Stephanie wallop her with her . . . what are those called?  Sticks?  Staphs?  It’s an foldable stick.  Batstick?  That sounds wrong.

Back to Wendy.  She’s having dinner or breakfast – they’re at a diner, where eggs and bacon is any time food – with Barbara.  Ghost or Hallucination Marvin is talking about how hot Barbara is and cuddling up next to her in the booth.  If he is a hallucination, I wonder what Freud would have to say about that.  Probably penis envy.  That’s his schtick, isn’t it? 

Wendy’s going to Nanda Parbat, the holy city of the DCU where she will hopefully reclaim her spirit.  Then she will probably, given the hinting that Leslie was making about her condition, walk again, and we will hopefully not hear from her anymore.  I don’t mean to be mean to her.  Maybe she’s someone’s favorite character.  But she just doesn’t fit in this book.  She’s pretty much just a mini-Barbara in a book that has a maxi-Barbara.  That’s a sucky position to be in.

Stephanie’s talking to Babs the next day.  Harmony was taking DNA from a nun who was said to be able to “remove maladies from the accursed” and there are three Reapers left on campus.  Stephanie wants Wendy to run some computer thingy and Babs tells her that Wendy is gone and that’s it –

Oh wait!  Johnny C has teamed up with the Reapers!  He’s going to keep Stephanie distracted while they finish doing whatever it is they need to do. 

dun Dun DUN!


Random Irrelevant Detail:  Ghost Marvin is wearing one of those down-stuffed orange vests.  Is that what he wore back in the day, when he was alive?  And why do people wear them, anyway.  It’s not like you won’t be cold.  Your arms are exposed.  The only two places for a vest are beneath a three-piece-suit and on a 90210 female character in the early nineties.

Suckiness Advisory Warning:  I’m sorry, but we gotta be done with Wendy, now.  I mean, half this whole issue was dedicated to shuffling her off stage, and she shouldn’t have been there to begin with.

Overall Awesomeness Level:  Holding steady.  I was worried that Johnny C was suddenly going to go after Batgirl because she brushed him off.  That would be both creepy and no fun.  Instead he just wants to keep her away from the Reapers so she doesn’t get hurt, which is stupid on his part, but promises to be entertaining for us.

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4 comments to “Batgirl #21 Play-by-Play”

  1. I love the continued development of the lovably dopy Johnny C. Especially since he’s helped bring me into the comic in the first place (well, via these PbPs). First he’s an insanely sane bad guy, then he’s some kind of weird anti-hero type, and now he’s turned into some kind of crazy stalker type. What fun, what fun.

  2. @Space Jawa: One of the best ways to build up a hero is to give them a really good rogues gallery. I think Johnny C is a great beginning to Stephanie’s. He’s a lighthearted character, but still a problem for her and a versatile villain.

  3. @Esther Inglis-Arkell: As far as her rogues gallery goes, I wouldn’t mind seeing Blimpmaster making a real appearance and becoming a full member of it, if only to see what BQM can do with him beyond a few panels at the end of an issue.

    But Johnny C is a good solid premiere member.

  4. I neither loved nor hated Wendy, but all effort spent on working her into the book as a character, only to cancel it out with putting in effort working her *out* of the story, just seems like such a waste.
    Not bothering with her in the first place, or leaving her in, (as I said I’m not strongly committed either way) would have been better than wasting panels on bringing in and then getting rid of a character who was around for so short a time, and had so little time to have any kind of effect on things.