Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SPOILERS: Batgirl #31

Right in the middle of the bad stuff, we begin with Barbara's roommate Alysia and a number of other activists trapped in a big cooperate skyscraper. Seems they were up to no good, and the cooperation that Alysia and company were going to "vandalize" caught on, and hired some help to clean up the mess... That help being the wonderfully twisted Ragdoll, who stalks each of them, picking them off one by one.

Across town, while she's unaware someone is watching her from afar, Barbara is visiting Ricky in the hospital for the first time, and he's got something to tell her... While she thinks he's going to break up with her, that's not the case, no no no, instead, he's suing her father for shooting him without cause! Awkward!

So of course Babs leaves, and then she gets a frantic call from Alysia that's basically "I'm probably going to die, tell my family I love them." Of course Babs can't have that, so off to do Batgirl stuff she goes. Babs arrives at the skyscraper, and wouldn't you know it, the cooperation who owns it is a dummy corp. for Mr. Rain from the annual. Babs gets in the building and starts tracking down Alysia, who is the only one left aside from one other girl, as Ragdoll is having quite the night.

But why are Alysia and her activist friends in the office? Well, they were going to set off a "stink bomb" that would have made the building inhabitable for a week. Who gave them this stink bomb? Bleak Michael! So obviously, nothing is kosher in the situation.

Babs eventually finds Alysia, right as Ragdoll attacks her. Fights happen! Ragdoll doesn't go down easily! But surprisingly, Ragdoll stops the fight himself and explains that they're both being played, as the "stink bomb" is actually a deadly nerve agent. Also, Ragdoll wasn't actually killing anybody, he wasn't paid enough to do so... just almost kills them.

So things wrap up, Knightfall was obviously behind the nerve agent thing, but someone tipped Rain off to her, so that means they've got a leak in their organization. Elsewhere, Ragdoll kills the guy who hired him, because Alysia informed him that the Rain corporation tests on monkeys, and Ragdoll rather likes monkeys.


The Good:

Any fan of Secret Six will be pleased to know that Ragdoll made it through the New 52 transition intact as twisted and inappropriate as ever. Fernando Pasarin also does a really great job of illustrating him in all his bendy glory. Safe to say, the return of Ragdoll was definitely the most entertaining part of the issue.  

The Bad:

Outside of Ragdoll, the actual story is just sort of average. Knightfall is up to something again, this time going up against another bad guy who I thought was dealt with in the annual couple of weeks ago, but nonetheless, is hardly really developed. 

Then there's the resurgence of the Batgirl: Wanted melodrama with Ricky and James Gordon... Outside of the drama, which I didn't really care for, one of my biggest issues with that arc was the disconnect that was felt between it and everything else. The whole arc hinged on James Jr. being "killed." But he wasn't, so for me it was just sort of hard to buy into everything with the huge amount of dramatic irony... but then the disconnect continues with it being brought up again. Ricky's suing James Gordon? Well, that sucks, I'm sure it can't get worse for James Gordon, not like he's being removed from the force and charged with the deaths of hundreds... OH, WAIT. The whole Ricky thing is just one of those "who cares?" deals for me, as it hardly seems like it'll matter. It doesn't ruin the issue or anything, it just seems like a waste of time, honestly.

Finally, I wish we got a little more of what's actually going on with whoever is watching Barbara. 

The Bottom Line:

The high point of Batgirl #31 is the return of Ragdoll, and for good reason, because he's as twisted and entertaining as ever. But Ragdoll's presence doesn't do much for the actual story other then giving a wink and a nod to fans of Secret Six. When you take the lovable twisted freak out of the picture, the rest of the issue is just pretty middle of the line stuff. Nothing terrible, nothing great either, just a pretty standard issue of Batgirl, if I'm being honest.


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