Wednesday, June 11, 2014

SPOILERS: Batgirl #32

So a group of hired mercenaries tried to rob a bank, but Batgirl stopped them. Apparently they have something to do with Knightfall? Sure. Speaking of Knightfall, she's planning something to clean up Gotham and hears the story about Ricky suing James Gordon. Knightfall can't stand by while a common criminal attempts to kick a good police officer while he's down (despite her history with him) so she sends her associate Bonebreaker to pay him a visit.

So Babs does some searching for Knightfall, finds nothing, and ends up walking in on her roommate and that girl she was with last issue, meanwhile, Ricky is getting politely threatened by the woman who cut off one of his legs. Fun times.

The next morning, Babs goes out for a jog until she's stopped by a woman she seems to recognize, and greets with a punch to the face. Turns out Babs had a friend in college who goes by the name of Obscura now. They both trained together until Obscura was recruit for some secret counter-terrorism group and had to fake her death, but now she needs Barbara... That's a lot to go through in the two page, but again, sure, whatever.

Obscura brings Babs to a secret location and is all "Someone named Knightfall is planning something big like a coup and we need someone like you to spy... on regular people, or something, just tell us if you hear anything." Something like that. Meanwhile Babs is all "No!" Obscura is all "I can destroy you!" but Babs is still all "No!"

So Babs gets dropped off and gets a call from Ricky, turns out Knightfall had his brother's hand cut off and sent to him, so he's dropping the case against Babs' father. This makes Babs mad, so she goes to take down Knightfall once and for all.

To help her fight Knightfall, Babs recruits the help of Black Canary, and just about when they're going to go in for the fight, Helena Wayne shows up and is all "Can I help?" Because, fuck man, I don't know? It's like the old Birds of Prey... but it's not. This is something we'll get to shortly.


The Good:

Didn't really enjoy much about the story here.

The Bad:

Boy, this one was sort of all over the place. Starts off with a merc group armed by Knightfall robbing a bank... What? Why? Well, never mind, that's just disposed of as quickly as it comes, yet, that's how the issue starts and it just goes into "Well, Knightfall is still here and she's a'schemin'. Then the next big point is all the sudden Babs has some old BFF who's now some super counter terrorist, which is just quickly inserted into the story, and that's just how it is now. Reading through that section, I took a step back because the issue just blindsides you info. When the dust settles I'm just left wondering why I should care about something that was introduced with the finesse of a sledge hammer. 

Then there's the last scene, which I find to be some of the most pandering nonsense I've seen in awhile. I'm sure some excuse is going to be made next issue, but there is absolutely no reason that makes any sense as to why Helena Wayne shows up. I mean, I can tell you the real reason why, because it's like the old Birds of Prey trinity which the same writer wrote, but because it makes absolutely no sense, it comes off as serious pandering. I'm sure the people who squee about this sort of stuff on tumblr are going to go nuts, but that doesn't mean it's good. Again, no reason for Earth 2 transplant, who is looking to go home at the moment, should have any interest in this Knightfall business.  It's just a big face palm for me.

The Bottom Line:

While I found numerous elements of this issue to just come off as blunt and rushed, the larger problem is that this issue really highlighted two very big problems for this series as a whole. The first problem is that the book just feels stagnant. We're still dealing with Knightfall, there's still some drama with Ricky, Babs is still being dramatic about everything that's happened in the book up until this point, and I'm just tired of it, tired of it all. I wouldn't say this book is directionless, but the direction this book has is just going in circles, nothing is accomplished and we keep revisiting the same things over and over again. When the book isn't stuck in it's usual rut, the second problem comes up and that's the pandering. The Huntress thing is just too ridiculous, I'm sorry. It's just there to play on people's memories of the old Birds of Prey because it looks similar. When you take the nostalgia out of the equation and look at those final pages objectively, you see the scene for what it is: a character that is sort of like an old character, but not really, is going to be lost to present continuity soon, so they were thrown in there real quick to make a certain group of fans happy for five minutes. This issue just really had me hit a wall, and open up my eyes: Batgirl needs a new direction. This book may work for the Simone faithful, but I just don't see it appealing to anyone outside of that group.



  1. Well, at least Calculator wasn't included in this jumbled story...

  2. I thought there were too many moving parts here. I mean it's clear Gail wanted to touch on all the various beats that are ongoing, but I feel like the whole cast of Eternal has less they're juggling than Babs. Still, it works thematically - we felt like the plot was juggling, but that actually supports exactly why Babs calls in the cavalry at the end.

    I admit I've sort of skimped on following Batgirl for a few months, or basically since a lot of the Knightfall stuff started. I still haven't gotten around to reading the Ragdoll issue. But this I read because I knew a proper Birds reunion of a sort was happening. The last page is obviously loaded with promise.

    And I did really like that bit where Babs freaked about somebody non-Grayson calling her "Babs".

    1. I think it was more of a "You've faked your death for years and come back calling me Babs like we're still friends" sort of deal.