Wednesday, May 9, 2012

SPOILERS: Batgirl #9

History lesson time, years ago during WWII, the Japanese created balloon bombs, that they'd send over the pacific jet stream, with hopes that they'd land in the USA. We get the story of Ayumi, one of many children who participated in the process of making the balloons, as she writes home to her mother.

A few years later, in 1946 Gotham, the Court of Owls is making their pick up of the best aerialist in Haly's circus, and the man who is to make the pick up is delivered Mary, a young girl, whose family was killed in a balloon bomb attack, leaving her face disfigured, along with leaving her unable to speak due to not having a tongue. The Court liaison takes off her bandages and freaks out for some reason, then plays nice to Mary, telling her she will be getting a new home, purpose, and mask soon.

Cut to: Barbara Gordon already on the ropes against a Talon (Mary) after a similar Balloon bomb has gone off in a Gotham district. This is before the broadcast by Alfred is sent out, so Babs doesn't quite no what she's deal with. Mary gets Babs dangling from a roof, but instead of killing her, she looks at Babs closely, touches her forehead, and leaves, leaving Babs in a state of confusion. Despite said confusion, Babs was able to lift a small scrap of paper from Mary.

Elsewhere, Commissioner Gordon walks down the street, as a man tells him he dropped something. As Gordon bends down to pick up a coin with an owl symbol on it, the man tells him to stay down, listen, or everything he loves burns, threatening a similar "accident" could happen to his daughter, again. He orders Gordon to stay in his office, and do nothing, despite the events soon to come. And "nothing" explicitly means, do not light the Bat signal, claiming the "rabble must not be allowed to believe one man owns what Gotham is at night." Freaked out, Gordon walks up to his office, despite some preliminary reports of the hell soon to come coming in.

Later, Babs comes back to an empty apartment, and looks over the piece of paper she had swiped. It's old, and has japanese kanji symbols on it, signifying a date. Babs does some research into it, figuring out the whole bomb balloon thing, that was covered up by the media so the country wouldn't panic in 1944. Meanwhile more and more reports come in to Gordon, who basically says "fuck it," and tries to call his daughter to be safe. The Court is on the other line, warning him that they'd be watching, as bombs descend on the GCPD.

It's at this point, Babs gets Alfred's message from the cave, and rushes into the city to try and help her father. She spots Mary on top of the GCPD's roof. As those two start fighting, Gordon tries to rush to the roof to light the signal, because of the typical "Gotham needs to know... hero... blah blah" sort of stuff.

Knowing that the Talons have regenerative properties, Babs knows she has to do everything to defeat the Talon so she can save her father, so she throws Mary off the roof into one of the bombs. Babs descends to the ground to see Mary, asking why she didn't kill her when she had the chance. Mary writes with blood on the ground "I hav mask 2. I understand." Mmmm... k?

On the roof, Gordon lights the signal, taunting the Court that he'd do it, and through (a phone that's not there) the guy on the other line basically says, we knew you would, we wanted you to, so we thought the best way would be to tell you not to, as an owl lights up the sky, and Gordon falls to his knees saying "DAMN YOU, NO!" As Babs looks up, sees the Owl thinking "Did we just lose Gotham?"


This... this was very disappointing. There are just so many "wait, why, why is this happening moments?" Why did the Court guy freak the fuck out over seeing Mary's face, like it would impede her ability to be a Talon (her face looked fine at the end, by the way.) What the hell did Mary's message to Babs even mean? What was with the convoluted plan to get Gordon to light the signal, he would have done it regardless of being provoked or not. I mean, there were some bright spots... but with the "wait, what?" sort of elements, along with it feeling a bit rushed (after the three page intro in Japan, with characters that didn't really seem to matter) it was just disappointing.



  1. Hmm. I still question the relation between the Japanese girl and Mary. Maybe they are the same person and she was scarred by one of her own bombs? And using the name Mary makes her own personal mask so she didn't bring shame to her family?

    Anyhoo, I think I would have given this book a 3.5 or so. I liked how it's dialogue mentioned other events across Gotham. I like Barbara's reaction. I like the art and the vivid colors. I like learning tidbits about each Talon. But the Talon not putting Gordon's life in danger was odd. It was simply the Court themselves. Weird. Since his name was on the list shouldn't he have come face to face with a bird? Everyone else did.

    1. Well, Mary seemed to be black, and how would a little japanese girl get hit with her own bomb in Oregon? I don't know, this issue was just one of those issues where I try and think of something to say about it, but I just sigh.

    2. Yeah it does seem just to unnecessarily convolute things. What gets me though is when her hood/mask is removed and she looks more Japanese then anything.

      No matter though, I'm glad Babs is getting back to her unwhiny self. That's good. We almost needed another Canary backhand already.

    3. I think since she was in Nagasaki, the implication is the little Japanese girl died in the nuclear attack.

      Which makes it especially pointless. A little Japanese girl made a bomb that blew up a little American girl's face, then that girl became an assassin and America blew up the little Japanese girl with a nuke.

      I guess it's supposed to be poetic or ironic or something.