Batgirl #2 Play-by-Play

October 13th, 2011 by |


This will be a short play-by-play, since the story in this issue is very dense in some scenes while others are knock-down drag-out fights.

We start where we left off last week, with Mirror having killed a criminal, and a cop, in the hospital, and the cop’s partner and Batgirl standing aghast.  I’ve decided that I was too hard on the title last week.  It seems the entire universe is younger, and if the male Bats are exactly where they used to be, well, it’s not like that franchise hasn’t always been given priority.  Batman has been the economic and public recognition power house for DC for decades, and that’s not going to let up.  Since it’s been established that he works with the Robins closely, and not Batgirl closely, his continuity is pretty much always going to be more protected.

Babs regains her resolve and runs after the villain as he flees.  The next ten pages are a knock-down drag-out fight between the two of them, broken up briefly by Detective McKenna telling Commissioner Gordon that they need to issue a warrant for Batgirl’s arrest.  Babs manages to steal Mirror’s hit list, finding both her identities on it, but at the end he disappears and she can barely change clothes and limp home.

Back at home, her roommate, Alysia, is shocked by Babs’ condition, but rallies, and manages to patch her up and put her to bed.  Afterwards, she asks Babs why, exactly, she’s beat to hell, and why, exactly, Alysia shouldn’t call the cops.  Babs assures her she’s ‘not a criminal or a victim.’  I think you’ll find, when you check with your dad, Babs, that the former is no longer true.  She then borrows some clothes – which I have never managed to do with all my myriad roommates because none of us are even remotely the same size, but this is comics, and there are only so many body types to go around.

The clothes she borrows allow her to go on a date with her physical therapist, who protests the entire time that this is not ethical.  Named Gregor.  Is he buff and cheerful, with black hair?  Of course he is!  Oh, Babs.  Just go back to Dick already and make us all happy.  Well.  Make me happy.

Gregor asks about how Babs got the use of her legs back.

“I’m a skeptic, Gregor.  I don’t believe in miracles.”

What a coincidence, Babs.  Neither does any reader of the title.

“And if someone is handing them out . . . Why should I, of all people in the world, be the recipient?”

You’re recognizable and potentially lucrative.  Done!  Move on!

And the comic does.  Babs does some research, and finds out that Mirror is a federal agent whose family died in a flaming car crash.  She breaks into the agent’s place and finds a small armory and Mirror talking to her on one of those giant computer screens that comic book villains love so much.

It seems that he thinks life is too painful, and that the survivors of any disaster deserved to die and be relieved of their suffering.  Why he had to kill them in the most painful and horrifying way possible is just a mystery.  His next victim is a guy who was saved from a train, and rides it to work every morning.  Mirror has put a bomb on it, to show Batgirl that there is ‘an end to all miracles.’

Can’t anyone in this universe just get therapy and slowly learn to live a fulfilling life again?

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

  1. Is anyone else troubled by the fact that Gail Simone wrote a book where a male character (villain, in this case) gets his motivation from his daughter (female, obviously) burning to death in the back of his car?

  2. @Dan: To be honest, I don’t think we’re going to see much of this character beyond the next couple of issues. I have a problem with that kind of stuff more when it’s the heroes, since they stay with us and provide the main storyarc.

    Looking at Mirror – his story is that he didn’t get the ‘miracle’ that Babs, the main character, got. It’s clear that he is provided with motivations that prompt her to think about her story and her life. So I see most of this in support of a main female character.

    That being said, I think the level of horror for the characters is still Secret Six level and not fun Batbook level.

  3. @Esther Inglis-Arkell: My brother made the same point about it not being a principal or heavy hitter, so it’s not as big a deal.

    My problem with the book is that it’s not very impressive yet. It’s passable, but that’s not enough to keep me pulling out dollars for it.

  4. The newspaper article made mention of there being twin daughters in the car, but Mirror only ever refers to a daughter in the singular. Editorial error or Chekhov’s gun?

  5. @Martin: Hmmm. Good point. Could be?

  6. This was an improvement over the first issue, to be sure. Even so, it’s just not very compelling. Other than $$$ I see no reason for this series to exist in this form. And it suffers tremendously in comparison to Batwoman, which has been fantastic.
    Also, I hate the nickname “Babs.” Has anyone ever gone by that in real life? Though if I have to choose between that and the cringe-inducing “GordonBarbaraGordon” thing, I choose Babs.

  7. This story strikes me as Simone trying to aim Johns-style Your-Tragedies-Are-All-That-Truly-Define-You stuff at a younger audience.

  8. So I’m likely to believe Barbra Gordanv2 was cloned by herself so that she can fight crime and sit around organizing super teams at the same time.
    It would explain why she now walks(that or she really a brainwashed redhead who thinks she Barbra Gordan).

  9. The oddest part of this story, to me, is that Babs went to the public library to do her research. What does this say about her Oracle resources? Did she lose them somehow, and is it related to her “miracle”?

    A classic superhero story structure is: hero loses in first engagement with bad guy, achieves only a stalemate in the second, and wins in the third. What we’re seeing here is a textbook example of this structure, as Babs fights Mirror. I think we’re also seeing it with regard to her old demons.

    There are some who say it’s demeaning that Babs would freeze up like she did, when writers would never let Batman do such a thing. But the thing about Batman is, he is largely defined as an impossible standard, and the fact that he occupies that position means that other heroes don’t have to. Over in Dick Grayson’s comic, a couple cops just got their throats ripped out because Dick misjudged exactly how fast the bad guy was; would that happen to Bruce? I don’t see anyone writing a scene like that.

    So I don’t mind that Babs is rusty at the superheroing game. So long as she overcomes her demons, so long as she finds her rhythm again, I’m satisfied. She doesn’t have to be perfect at Batgirling; I’ll settle for damn good.

    That said, sooner or later I’d like her to realize she does more good as Oracle and return to Oracling … unless that door has been closed. In which case I will personally buy her DSL and a new computer so she can start over.

  10. I think the main issue with Oracle not having the sufficient computer skills comes from Gail Simone’s first attempt writing Birds of Prey (which you can find online here: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=13386). It makes sense if we’re going back to “Year 5 Barbara Gordon” :-).