Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SPOILERS: Batgirl #16

Before we attend the real wedding of the century, we see Barbara with her therapist, discussing her mental state with the wheelchair, and her dreams of getting her revenge on the Joker... oh and the guy she was supposedly dating, who fell of the face of the earth. But never mind all that, Joker and Batgirl are getting married!

The wedding can be described as a shotgun wedding, and then some, with many of Joker's armed thugs consisting of the wedding party. The two go back and forth a bit, Joker gives the par for the course "you're bringing Bat-King down" lines, then revisits his wedding plans from an issue or two back, whipping out a chainsaw, so he can take his soon-to-be bride's arms and legs, so she can't go running around on him.

At this point, Babs pretty much says "fuck it" and goes HAM on Joker's thugs, throwing Batarangs around and what not. Surprisingly, back up arrives in the form of James Jr, who comes in with two grenades, telling Joker to stand down. This gives Babs just enough time to get a few hits in on Joker, as she's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. James tells "Batgirl" that Mrs. Gordon is free and safe, which allows Babs to go all out on Joker... buuuuut, not so fast.

With Babs fully focused on Joker, James manages to chloroform her, telling her that their mother is still indeed a hostage. With Babs out, James offers Joker a trade. His mother for Babs, if not, he'll kill his sister right then and there, ruining Joker's entire spectacle. Joker is intrigued, but notices that the two live grenades James was holding are gone, and asks about them. James points out that those were fake, but he does have a real one, which is what's going to prevent Joker from screwing him over, as he leaves them with it. Joker is impressed with Jr. to say the least.

Babs soon wakes up in a soon to be familiar scene that we'll see probably five more times, to Joker in a suit, holding a bloody, covered, silver platter, ready to serve up a horrifying surprise.


The Good:

In general, I just like this story. I like seeing Babs confront the Joker like this, as we haven't gotten a whole lot of modern stories as such. Last I can remember was in an arc of Birds of Prey after Gail Simone left the first time, and I didn't read that. Seeing Babs, who we're used to being pretty calm and collected, even in dire circumstances, pushed to this limit, is pretty entertaining in a macabre sort of way. Despite Ed Benes once again being teamed up with Gail Simone after an iconic run of Birds of Prey and once again failing to deliver more than one full issue, I still find Sampare's art to be very enjoyable.

The Bad:

I just feel like the whole wedding/cut off the arms and legs thing just never was really explained, other than "it's in my book!" I mean... it's an interesting backdrop of sorts, but I could have used a bit more explanation as to why, instead of just seemingly relying on Joker being nuts. Also, I still don't really like the use of James Jr. in such an active roll, it just feels out of place. I know some of The Black Mirror has been thrown out, but Jr. rolling up on Joker's party with a couple of grenades, well, okay, just one grenade, seems pretty out of place to me, New 52 or not.

The Bottom Line:

I enjoyed these Batgirl issues, and #16 is no different. In terms of tie ins, the issue doesn't do anything extraordinary, but the character beats are where the meat is. Though I don't agree with how James Jr. is being used and portrayed, it's not enough to truly ruin my enjoyment of the issues. Thankfully, this isn't Gail Simone's final issue on the series, and she'll probably be given the chance to explain that new dynamic in full.


1 comment :

  1. Yeah, the whole wedding plot amounted to nothing. It feels like this was a big hamster wheel of a plot; it went pretty much nowhere, at least in terms of the Joker accomplishing something, except getting Babs angry. I have a feeling that little book will also turn out to be nothing, and it will boil down to ‘he’s just nuts’. Same thing with the silver platters; bloody or not there’s probably just pie on them. Gee, I’m cynical today.