Wednesday, June 12, 2013

SPOILERS: Batgirl #21

Hey Nightwing! Long time no see... last time you were in this book, your were holding on to some of Babs' hair... what'd you do with that? Nah, never mind, this isn't your book, silly! Anyways, with Babs all depressed, Dick calls in from Chicago to try and help out, and reassure her that despite the family being strained at the moment, he doesn't want to loose her, etc. As Babs puts it, pretty depressing stuff! But there's work to do, and Babs checks some DMV records, and believes she's found the address of the new Ventriloquist.

Elsewhere, Barbara's mother is about to leave town, despite Commissioner Gordon pleading against it. Same schtick, Gordon loves the city too much, while it's destroyed everything for her. They share a moment, Gordon still goes on about catching his son's killer, so on and so forth.

Elsewhere, the Ventriloquist has her prey tied up, and is using her vocal abilities to throw police off pursuing any leads that will end at her. This Ventriloquist is a bit crazy, she's got some issues with self esteem, doesn't like pretty girls, and thinks her puppet is going to step out on her... Yeah, total weirdo. Nonetheless, she commands her puppet to kill the singing judge she's got, but not before she deals with her unexpected guest in the form of Batgirl.

Babs is instantly grossed out by the house. Nothing has been cleaned in what looks like years, electricity doesn't work, and it smells like death. Sure enough, death! Babs finds the corpses of Shauna's mother and father at a table, next to a wall with newspaper clippings about all sorts of murder... then Shauna's parents come back to life, attack Babs, all while praising their daughter. Things get grim, like decapitated head, and knife through the jaw and back the skull grim, but Shauna's parents are still twitching around. With her parent puppets more or less incapacitated, Shauna sends Ferdie out to get Babs.

Babs comes face to face with the possessed puppet downstairs, and he continues his violent flirtation with her, while trying to gauge her eyes out. The conflict comes to an abrupt end when Babs sticks a concussive batarang in the puppet's head, and blows it up. Even more abruptly, Shauna shows up, and is one punched by Babs, who rescues the singer, and that's that.

Later at Babs' apartment, Babs talks to Alysia about her family a bit, asking how it was, as she's so depressed about hers, she just wants to be lazy and pig out... BUT UH-OH, seems like Babs forgot about her date with Ricky! Womp Womp. Yeah, total sitcom stuff right there.


The Good:

Gail Simone shines with crazy ass villains, and this new Ventriloquist definitely reached for Junior from Secret Six levels off crazy. She's just so damn weird in a way no other Ventriloquist has been before, that it's just compelling to read. 

This issue also saw Fernando Pasarin and Jonathan Glapion's first issue on art, and for the most part, I thought it was really good. I thought some head shapes and angles were weird from panel to panel, but overall, really solid. Here's to hoping for some consistent art on the title.

The Bad:

Not necessarily bad, but god damn this was violent. It also proves that DC just gives a book a rating, and doesn't do dick with it after. I mean, there were severed heads, knives going through heads, blood everywhere... is it weird how Batgirl is one of the more violent Batbooks?

I still just don't buy that "I can't be Batgirl" thing... okay, she took the emblem off your chest... so that automatically means when she saves people they're going to ask what to call her? She's still dressed up liking a friggen Bat, there's a certain dresscode that she matches to a point... the gold emblem wasn't the only thing that said "bat."

Shauna's one punch was also pretty anticlimactic. 

The Bottom Line: 

If you enjoy Gail Simone when she's working with weird creepy characters, then you should probably pick up this issue (and the pervious one) because the new Ventriloquist is total a piece of work. While a bit overdramatic with some of the overhead stuff after the situation with James Jr. this was a generally fun issue that hit all the right notes of some of Gail Simone's older work that I really loved. It'll definitely be fun to see the new Ventriloquist back come September.



  1. Thanks for the review Fhiz! I don't read Batgirl but I love Gail Simone's work - particularly Secret Six. It's one of my Top 3 comic books of all time and it's a crime it didn't carry over into the "New 52." I'm going to pick-up Batgirl 20 and 21 and go from there.

  2. I'm a little confused about Babs Senior. Why is she allowing Jim to pursue Batgirl? Even if she can't reveal Batgirl's true identity, why not stand up for a bit more? She was willing to kills James herself! I'm also confused about her fingers... Didn't she lose one?

  3. Maybe it's not Bab sr.... maybe it's Clayface!


    The akward scene where she's holding his face is a backward hand. Seems like the artist went out of his way to hide her left hand. Was he afraid of drawing a stump?