Batgirl #6: Play-by-Play

January 14th, 2010 by | Tags: , ,


We start with Stephanie hallucinating various people abandoning, excoriating, and shooting her, only to wake up in an ambulance, realizing she’s been shot.

Fortunately, it’s the kind of shot that ‘grazes the temple’, according to the EMTs.  And since everyone knows having a bullet knock against the thinest part of your skull is like being gently massaged by someone wearing mink gloves, Stephanie is just fine.  She won’t tell the EMT’s her name, instead using Fay Wray (hah.  Classic shout-out.), which apparently activates some alarm in the Oracle Cave.  Oracle sees the situation and decides the best way to get Stephanie out . . .

Is to crash the ambulance.

Are we sure Oracle hasn’t gone evil?  Because she crashed an ambulance.  That can’t be right.

Meanwhile, The Commissioner and Sergeant Nick are on a rooftop waiting for Batman.  He arrives, freezing out Nick to talk to Gordon.  Dick, don’t live up to your name.  Come on.  They decide that Francisco’s dad (Stefano) is being targeted by someone, but don’t know by whom.

Stephanie, meanwhile, reads lips from a nearby rooftop, providing her own satirical commentary.  Steph, I don’t want to join the massive throng of your naysayers, but no one can do it better than Spike did in that episode of Angel.  That’s just a fact.

Damian creeps up on her and begins the mandatory Sidekick Fight.  They trade blows and insults until Dick breaks them up and boots them both off the case.  Later they pout and keep sniping at each other.  Damian keeps waving around his League of Assassins training until Stephanie comes back with, “Bruce trusted me enough to let me operate on my own.  How much did he trust you, Robin?”

OH BURN!  She immediately apologizes, but come on.  She’s been catching crap from almost every single character in the DCU for the past fifteen years.  It’s about time she fought back with some meanness.  She makes it up by suggesting they investigate the case on their own.  Damian, for the first time possibly ever, looks approving.

Meanwhile, Babs and Dick trade friendly jabs and eventually make up over their communicators.  Some people have police scanners.  Some people have hamm radios.  Some people watch Twitter feeds or compulsively check their Facebook status.  But I think the Gold Standard of eavesdropping would be listening in on the Batcoms.  It would be like Cops, Days of Our Lives, and House, all rolled into one.  I think they could stop crime in Gotham by making it public.  The criminals would be too interested to have time to plan crimes, and the supervillains would realize that they don’t have to destroy the Batfamily’s lives, since they’ve destroyed their own lives already. 

Dick notices some strange radioactive footprints in the van that abducted Francisco, but I’m here for the soap, so lets move on.

Stephanie and Damian go to interrogate Jordanna, Francisco’s friend.  Stephanie tries to lurk in the shadows.  Damian casually turns on the light, revealing that Steph is crouched on an arm chair.  Heh.  That would lose anyone cool points, but now I’m interested in knowing how many times Batman did exactly that.  Stephanie makes up the points anyway, with the line:  “Me?  I’m a punch first, ask questions later kinda gal.  Him?  He’s a stabber.”  It’s funny because it’s true!  They find out that Gracia Stefano was a gambler, and all the money he put into the various housing projects was dirty. 

Shift scene to Dick.  Who appears to be in daylight, even though Steph and Damian are questioning Jordana at night.  Hmm.  He’s in the new, flying Batmobile (that kind of looked like it was on the cover of Birds of Prey and I hope that Babs steals it), and talking to Babs.  Roxy Rockett comes by and drops what looks like Francisco.  Nope.  It turns out to be Riot.  I don’t know him, but he has a creepy doll face and seems to be able to make copies of himself.  Ruh-roh!

As the Batmobile crashes in the background, in the foreground Francisco and Gracia Stefano talk about what Gracia did to square his debts.  Looks like it was setting Batman up.  Francisco yells and screams and walks out on his dad in what I’m sure would be a moving manner if he weren’t my least favorite character.  Next page!

It’s Roulette!  She’s set up a virtual gambling den, and is taking bets on who can kill Batman.  Contenders are Riot, Roxy Rocket, and Doctor Phosphorous.

Barbara orders Stephanie and Damian to help get Dick back to the cave alive, and it’s going to be a challenge, given that he’s crawling away from the crashed batmobile leaving a trail of blood.

Although not too much of it.  Yes, Dick Grayson’s deadability has been kind of a running gag in the DCU, but come on.  Dick Grayson isn’t getting offed in a Batgirl book by fifth-string villains.  And I’m happy about that.  With absolutely no threat of death I am free to enjoy the rest of this arc, looking at whether the panels entertain me, not just picking the book up because it might have a character die in it.


Interesting Irrelevant Detail:  Damian first leaps at Stephanie from off of what looks like a water tower.  I have seen those towers on top of roofs in every single comic, and they play an integral part in many comics.  I have never, ever seen one in a city.  Who just stores a bunch of water on top of their roof?  Isn’t that what we have faucets for?

Suckiness Advisory Warning:  Again, and always, Francisco.  Okay, he’s not as bad as his father.  That doesn’t make him good.  I know we live in The Age of Edward Cullen, but it would be nice to see a teen love interest who was . . . nice.

Overall Awesomeness Level:  Always rising.  People who get along are being nice to each other.  People who don’t get along are being amusing about it, and I love the Steph and Damian team-up far more than I thought I could.

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19 comments to “Batgirl #6: Play-by-Play”

  1. Did you hit publish before you finished typing “would?”

    Also, your use of “Ruh-roh!” has me convinced that you actually say all of this aloud while writing it out, like pantomiming and everything. Just a hunch. Am I right?

  2. I think you only find those water storage things on really old apartment buildings…

  3. @david brothers: I wrote ‘could’. Just to be contrary.

    And yes. Yes, I do. After that fight, I am exhausted.

    @LurkerWithout: Because what better place to put a half-ton of water in a toothpaste tube on legs than a really old apartment building? What could go wrong?

  4. You seriously misjudge the import of water towers to places like New York City (real Gotham)! http://www.scienceontv.com/2008/04/21/new-york-dirty-jobs-roof-top-water-tanks/

    “It seems that the water pressure of NYC is only 5 stories high, therefore they need the water tanks to to get water to the top floors of buildings that are higher than 5 stories.”

    Kinda neat 🙂

  5. We’ve got a bunch of those water towers all over Brooklyn. I don’t even know if buildings still store water in them, or if they just keep them up to look cool and allow for arty sunset shots of graffiti.

  6. I still dislike Damian, but I’m kind of hoping he gets a schoolboy (nasty, horrible schoolboy) crush on Stephanie – just as Tim rolls back in to town in the next arc.

  7. I am also surprisingly enjoying the interaction between Damian and Steph. I adored #5 so much that I felt like this issue wasn’t as good, but then I’m persnickety.

  8. @taters: I am humbled.

    @taters: I don’t want her back together with Tim. But still, I like the way you think.

  9. “Damian first leaps at Stephanie from off of what looks like a water tower. I have seen those towers on top of roofs in every single comic, and they play an integral part in many comics. I have never, ever seen one in a city. Who just stores a bunch of water on top of their roof? Isn’t that what we have faucets for?”

    Pressure is not enough to get the water to the higher floors so the pump it up to the roof, store it and then let gravity carry it down to apartments.

    The ones you see in comics are all over NY, I think newer buildings just include it as part of the design.

    Outside of comics I’ve never heard of one breaking or causing trouble.

  10. @Esther Inglis-Arkell: I think I do want them back together… I like them better than Dick and Babs, way better. But not til Tim gets over the idea he can order everyone around. Who does he think he is, Bruce?

  11. Esther and David — didn’t know you were SF people! Been enjoying the site and podcast (though it’s so quiet, and there are occasional popping noises).

    How about a 4thletter meetup? Or at least I’d like to buy you guys a drink. In a non-fanboi, non-stalkerish fashion, of course. I have references.

  12. I don’t really understand what’s wrong with Francisco. He hasn’t done anything besides getting kidnapped and being upset about it. He hasn’t told Steph she’s a useless scew up who should hang up her costume, so he’s already 100% better for Steph than Tim.

    I mean, being compared to Edward Cullen? That’s a low blow.

  13. @Nev: The first time he met Stephanie he was helping her pick up books (good) that his friend Jordanna (bad) had jostled out of Stephanie’s hand. Then he said that Jordanna, who is again, his friend (bad) was a bitch (bad) when she had PMS (bad and stupid), and she had PMS all the time (bad stupid bad bad boo bad).

    Terrible first impression, and he hasn’t really done anything good to offset it since.

  14. Yeah, I didn’t like it either. But he really hasn’t done anything bad since then and as I’m hanging out in college…a lot of boys do still do throw around terms like bitch and PMS-ridden even about girls they like :/. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s Edward Cullen level, just that they need to be forced into Feminism and Tact 101, which is sadly not a required class.

    The impression I got from their relationship is that he likes Jordanna because she cares about him, but doesn’t approve of her behavior towards other people, and that he cares about his dad but also hates what he does, which I found could be sort of interesting especially since there’s the paralell to Steph’s dad…and the fact it means Steph would occasionally have her own damsel-in-distress to save from danger to be potentially a good story hook.

    On the other hand, maybe I’m just glad that she’s not pining after Tim constantly and actually getting some supporting characters that tie into her costumed life as well as her regular one- because I was really getting tired of DC’s whole “Tim yells at Stephanie for being a screw up, Stephanie cries and is cowed!” deal. Maybe my joy over that makes me forgive everything else.

  15. @Nev: Batman’s the one who usually was a complete jerk to her. Tim was supportive most of the time. Until the last few months, that is. But I don’t want her together with Tim, anyway.

  16. Tim wasn’t supportive of her in the beginning- then around the middle of the Dixon run (after they officially hooked up) he mostly was. He wasn’t exactly the total best boyfriend though- he kept his secret identity from her- while he thought he had a good reason, the whole situation was pretty messed up. And he wasn’t above being manipulative and condescending to her. Of course, she had her faults too.

    Then in the Lewis run he was totally supportive because Lewis Rocks <3. But Nicieza and Yost having them act like utter jerks to each other especially Tim, really burnt me out on the dynamic for now. Steph having a civilian maybe-kinda-sorta-love-interest who is unable to boss her around and whose ass she has to save is a bit of a nice change, if only for a short while.

  17. *and by secret identity, I mean his real identity and actual name obvs. This is what typing too fast does!

  18. By the way, was Cassandra’s Batgirl series the longest run that either Marvel or DC has had for a non-white main character in a solo book?

  19. @versasovantare: I’m pretty sure, yeah, since Power Man & Iron Fist was technically a team-up title.