Batgirl #17 Play-by-Play

January 14th, 2011 by | Tags: ,

Prepare to be spoiled.

We start in Wayne Tower, where Alfred is taking a breakfast tray into Damian’s room.  When he pushes back the curtains, he finds Damian hanging upside down from the ceiling behind him.  He’s determined to sleep only one hour a night, just like his father.  And he still calls Alfred “Pennyworth.”  What an obnoxious kid.  Alfred tells him he’ll stunt his growth without proper rest and nutrition.

Damien:  “First of all, this barely qualifies as nutrition.” 

Damien, there are cut flowers in a vase on your tray.  Take them out.  Lay them carefully on the bed.  Drink the water liquid in the mug that’s set out for you and pour the water from the vase into that mug.  Transfer the flowers to the mug, taking care to only bend, not fold, the stems.  Then smack yourself over the head with the vase.


Damien:  “Secondly – my size and height are perfect for keeping my enemies off balance.”

You’re going to be regretting this later, Damien.

When Alfred leaves, Damien makes audio notes in his ‘Red Casebook’.  Somewhere out there, Damien, Tim is embarrassed by what a shameless Batman fanboy you are.

Over at Stephanie Brown’s house, her mother wakes Stephanie up, while Stephanie mutters, “Kill you Abraham Lincoln.”  No doubt she’s just been reading the Batman ‘casebook’ which details the killer who could project holograms and made himself look like Lincoln and, I am not kidding you, Jesus.  Her mother as waffles, which shows improvement, since all right-thinking people prefer waffles to pancakes – so crisp! – and also tries to get Stephanie to relax a little and take it easy.  Steph heads out the door.

Damien watches elementary school kids cross sidewalks below and calls them ‘drones’.  Yeah.   Then he scoops up a grumpy crossing guard and hangs him from a building, asking him why he cares about kids getting to school on time.  I have to give credit to Pere Perez and Brian Q Miller here.  Damien’s expressions are hilarious and his speech is just about right.  I’ll have to get David to go over this when we podcast next, and see what he thinks.

Stephanie appears next to him on the roof and mocks him, gently, about his lack of knowledge of regular stuff.  They bicker a little about who gets the suspect and who got assigned to the case officially by Bruce-Batman, but settle for pointing all the weapons they have at the guy and questioning him.  Seems the middle class kids have been getting kidnapped and held for ransom.  They want to know who’s doing it.  Damien didn’t know about the kidnapping mission, and is a bit hurt, but covers it.

“It would seem my father assigns me so very many missions that this one in particular must have gotten . . . lost in the shuffle.”


The guy is a look-out, but they leave without questioning him further, and follow the kids on a field trip to the children’s museum.  They can’t follow the kids in dressed as they are –

And so Stephanie puts Damien in shorts and a happy face t-shirt, and a google-eye hat. 

Damien:  “This is humiliating.”

Yes.  Kind of the point of it.  I want Stephanie to get a picture for Alfred.

A girl comes up to Damien and asks him what his name is.  He says, “Bruce.”  Awwwww.  That is sweet and sad, and Stephanie things so too.

“My heart just broke for him a little.  I must never let him know.  Unless it keeps him from killing me one day but I digress.”

Stephanie watches Damien follow the little girl around and realizes he doesn’t know how to play, at all.  More sadness. 

Stephanie sees a two men dragging a third one on the railing above.  She and Damien head over and recognize him as the kids’ bus driver.  They realize that they want all the kids.

Damien:  “I’ll need my steel.”

In the happy face t-shirt, it’s even funnier than you imagine.

The goons try driving the bus away, and Damian sticks his sword through the roof.  It it just not his day.  They go crashing through the windshield and knock out the driver.  Damien tries to drive and apparently fails, because the little girl screams for him to look out and Stephanie comes to take over.

The next thing we see the bus is stopped, and a caption reads: “Four harrowing minutes later.”

Hmm.  That seemed pretty abrupt.  Could the reduction in pages have hit post-writing of the script and this scene was cut.

Stephanie tells Damien that he can learn a thing or two from her.  He reluctantly follows her – to a bounce house (she calls it a moon bounce).  He doesn’t seem to be having fun, until he confesses to thinking about stabbing Stephanie.  Whatever works, I guess.


The Good:  The Stephanie and Damien partnership never gets old.  Really, they could do a team book or a mini-series and I would be happy to buy it.  Furthermore, the comedy here wasn’t about showing either character as incompetent.  Something that kind of bothers me about Stephanie is how often writers get comedy out of her screwing up in a slapstick manner.  This was just about how the characters were, and how each of them was funny in their way.

The Bad:  No actual bad in this issue.  Awesome!

The irrelevant detail:  When Damien joins Stephanie at the moon bounce he’s wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a sweater vest.  I knew the kid liked Grayson, but I didn’t imagine he liked him that much.  Enjoy your bounce, mini-Dick.

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13 comments to “Batgirl #17 Play-by-Play”

  1. Inadvertant humor theatre: “Her mother as waffles” 😀

  2. Cheryl Lynn just KILLS it in those posts. Wow! That last one about Marvel stepping up to offer diversity to readers that DC lacks fits right their playbook.

    “DC has fantastic brands/icons but they don’t have the diversity. There’s a weak spot. Like a dude in the ring at Wrestlemania with a bad shoulder. How come no one is slamming into that shoulder?”


  3. @Jay Potts: Wrong thread!

  4. The Damian characterization in the preview is what made me not want to start reading this book. So Batman and Son! The Damian of the later B&R issues didn’t go so ridiculously out of his way to be a brat.

  5. [quote]“Secondly – my size and height are perfect for keeping my enemies off balance.”[/quote]

    Careful, Damian. You might grow up into such a terrible fighter that you need to plant bombs all over Gotham to get an edge.

  6. @Master Mahan: I do not understand html. 🙁

  7. @Master Mahan: I wouldn’t call Damian-Batman (I like to call him Bratman) a bad fighter… he does have that healing factor to lean on. He really just has low self-esteem (which I think is certainly an interesting trait in a Batman) – he feels that he needs an edge not to protect himself (he seems to be immortal basically) but to fight crime as effectively as his father and Dick Grayson did. Like any legacy character, he tries to live up to his legacy, but he does so in a flawed way by taking shortcuts in order to achieve the results he feels are adequate.

  8. Though booby-trapping Gotham IS a pretty smart idea, to be honest. The killing is really where the low self-esteem thing kicks in.

  9. I hate to spam this thread, but there’s no edit function and it just occurred to me that it would be awesome to see future-Damian interact with future-Steph. This needs to happen.

  10. I, too, would not be opposed to Damian becoming a regular member of Steph’s supporting cast.

  11. It’s been -20 Celsius in Calgary since Monday, so I have yet to read this in person since it’s too cold to visit the comic shop. Until then, I will vicariously enjoy the heck out of this comic through others. (i.e. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for writing the column!)

  12. Damn. You know it’s bad when Tim Drake, of all people, is embarrassed by one’s Batman fanboyism.

  13. […] you and him fight! -We’re talking about Batgirl vs Robin -More specifically, Batgirl 17, featuring words by Bryan Q Miller and Pere Perez -I’ve been critical of people writing […]