Three Things That Came Out of The Road Home: Batgirl

October 15th, 2010 by | Tags: , , ,

There were two things I did not like, and one thing I did, but shouldn’t.  Have a look below the cut.

1.  Bruce Wayne testing people.  Again.  The dude has been from the beginning to the end of the universe.  He’s alienated his friends, his family, his colleagues, and many of his girlfriends, with his pointless games.  He’s gone through the afterlife.  He’s gone mad.  He’s fought gods.  Forget facing Armageddon, he’s been Armageddon. 

And he’s still pulling this crap?

2.  The twist at the end which showed that the whole game had a point at the end, and he was right.  For one thing, I hate Bruce being a jerk.  More than that, I hate everyone jumping through hoops to show that being a jerk is actually the logical, best thing to do.  For both the character and the story, that’s having your cake and eating it, too.  He’s doing awful things but he’s The Best Man.  It puts me off, entirely. 

3.  It was up on scans_daily.  As far as I can see, it was made by someone by the name of Halloweenjack. 

I absolutely should not like this.  But I do.  Totally puts a better spin on the story.

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16 comments to “Three Things That Came Out of The Road Home: Batgirl”

  1. I didn’t read this story or most of the related stories, but I agree with your point about jerkiness and its storytelling application.

    I also agree about the slap, for many reasons. Violent responses to non-violent offenses are problematic, but women get a pass against men. I don’t dig that. That said, sometimes people do things that I don’t fully condone, but I can admit was well-deserved. It sounds like this was such an example.

  2. Are you going to do a play-by-play of this issue, or is this it?

    While I agree with both your complaints, I did enjoy this issue. Steph is allowed to have a brian and figure out most of what’s what. Her slap was in character and entirely justified. It could even be said it was motivated by her disgust at your point 1. Her little rant afterwards was a thing of beauty and entirely accurate. If War Games has to stay “in-continuity” then at least SOMEBODY is calling Bruce out for having such a sick plan in the first place.

  3. One minor quibble. The saying isn’t “having your cake and eating it too”, but rather “eating your cake and having it too”, meaning wanting to have the cake after it’s been eaten. Having the cake is step 1 for eating it.

    @West – If it had been a male Batcharacter that they’d chosen for Steph’s response, he’d have punched Bruce rather than slapping him. Female characters are only allowed to slap people in the same circumstances, so while there’s a double standard at work, it’s not the one you’re saying it is.

  4. I haven’t read the issue, but considering Batman’s tests tend to involve dumping his subjects into violent situations, slapping him once afterwards is a great deal nicer than the old standard “an eye for an eye” would grant.

  5. @Prodigal, since there’s no way that scene would have played out the way it did, if the slapper had been a man and the slapped person had been a woman, I think it’s precisely the double-standard I ..err..thought.

  6. Patrick: Fair point.

  7. Bruce Wayne: The Road Home to Batdickery.

    The twist at the end which showed that the whole game had a point at the end, and he was right. For one thing, I hate Bruce being a jerk. More than that, I hate everyone jumping through hoops to show that being a jerk is actually the logical, best thing to do.

    That is an excellent way of summarizing it.

    At first I didn’t mind Bruce “testing” Stephanie, precisely because we got to see him get called on it directly. But then they had to keep it up after she was gone. To make matters worse, the implication behind Bruce telling Cass to give up being Batgirl because Steph needed to take on that role…uhg. That makes the whole thing HIS idea, not Stephanie’s, not Cassandra’s, not requiring Barbara’s approval, etc. And unless Cassandra’s secret mission is the absolute best thing ever, it’s a jerky thing to do to her considering how much the bat-symbol meant to her. (And much as I love Steph, Bruce should care more about Cass than he does Steph.)

    I, uh, did lots of capslock ranting about this issue here. XD

  8. @West: Yeah but, there’s a very good reason why that double-standard exists. In fiction, if a man is shown hitting a woman, it brings to mind abusive relationships. (Which is a real thing, and while men are victims of domestic abuse, it’s extremely more common for women to be on the receiving end of it.) If a woman hits a man, it’s far less likely to have that baggage for most readers.

    I’m not saying it can’t ever or shouldn’t be done, but there needs to be some thought with respect to power balances if you’re gonna have a man hit a woman in a non-abusive context.

    Just as an example of how it can work: if you had, say, Batman hit Big Barda? It’s probably not gonna be creepy or problematic because it’s Big Barda. She could crush Batman and eat him for breakfast if she wanted to, and she doesn’t need him for anything. So the person hitting isn’t being a bullying jerk, which is why Steph hitting Bruce isn’t so bad. (I mean, hitting your friends is still not cool, but y’know, comics.)

  9. My point isn’t that a man should hit a woman, but that she shouldn’t hit him either…in-response to non-violent offenses.

    Regardless, Patrick’s point is a great one and mine more of a passing one.

  10. Batman: “I must apologize for Steph, she is an idiot. We purposely trained her wrong as a joke”
    Steph: “Hey!”
    …yeah i miss Cass-Batgirl… ;_;

  11. @kendall: Hey, kendall. I don’t think I am going to do a play-by-play on this. At this point, I don’t have the headspace to devote to anything that doesn’t interest me.

    @Maddy: That is actually a really good point. The issue supposedly is all feminist, with Steph saying she won’t stop being Batgirl because it’s not Bruce’s right to take it from her. Then it turns out that every decision that every woman in this comic ever made was nullified because all of this was all his idea, and furthermore, he’s not going to tell any of them that, because – because.

    Ick. And why? Because Batman has to be the awesomest there is at everything.

  12. @Maddy: I know a lot of people have been pretty positive about what this book did with Cass, and while it’s going to be difficult to pass judgment on it until we see what Cass’s secret mission actually is (if we see what her secret mission actually is), I didn’t really like it. It seems like a total dick move to take away one character’s reason for existing just so you can do a nice thing for another character that you never really liked much to begin with. Especially when the former character is basically your daughter.

    Plus, it doesn’t make any sense as it’s presented now. Why would Bruce’s death be a good time for Cass to give up her identity and move to Hong Kong and let Steph take over? I guess all will be revealed in time.

    But it’s a shame to me that we’re probably never going to get a scene where Cass is reunited with Bruce, who was one of the most important people in her entire life. It’s probably going to be a repeat of the whole “no reunion between Steph and Cass” thing that I still think was a horrible wasted opportunity to this day.

  13. It is frustrating that Bruce’s Batdickery has traveled back and forth through time with him. And I agree with @Maddy’s and your frustrations Esther. But there was a lot to like about this issue and and near the top of the list is Bruce getting called out on being a dick. And in not just a “Bruce, just stop it” way that Dick might do but by Stephanie Brown slapping him and telling him off. Bruce may have planned everything else, but he didn’t plan that.

  14. Actually, since Stephanie’s reaction to her slap was to go all “ohgodohgod” and run off while Bruce just stood there stoically (with his plan intact), I think it came off more like “silly girl gets all emotional and irrational over the HARD CHOICES A MAN MUST MAKE”. No more empowering than a thousand identical scenes back in the unenlightened ages…

  15. I agree that the whole “Bruce is testing everybody” bit is beyond old. And retconning Cass’ departure into some other Grand Plan is a disservice to both Cass and Steph. But the “War Games” reference felt flat for me and didn’t do anything to bolster Steph’s case.

  16. @West: I can’t think of any examples of female characters engaging in the same sort of abusive behavior Bruce was engaging in, so I’ll stand by what I said before about how, if the target of Bruce’s abuse had been a male character, he’d have punched Bruce rather than slapped him.