Graphic Novel Reviews: Batgirl 020

The Story
Nine years ago a bullied girl poisoned a bunch of her classmates at a birthday party and stole a ventriloquist’s dummy. Back in the present Barbara visits her psychologist and tells her most of what happened the previous night. Though it is a little confusing as to what she actually tells her and what she keeps secret. She gets into a fight with the girl from the first two pages, who has grown up and now has some what seem to be some kind of telekinetic control over her dummy and other objects.

Barbara remembers the license plates of every car in the parking lot, and runs off to trace which car the Ventriloquist took. Back by the docks Jim Gordon declares that Batgirl will pay, showing a lot more concern for the sociopath of a son than he ever showed before.

The Review
Uh…is there any particular reason someone left an even partially empty bottle of weed killer laying around? I know there are irresponsible people laying around, but I’m sure the majority of the population would put that away knowing a bunch of kids would be in the backyard for a birthday party. Not only that, but wouldn’t anyone that cares enough about their lawn to spread weed killer also care enough to just leaving the partially full bottle of weed killer lying around?

Now, I’ve seen more blood than I really care for—for me any amount of blood is too much—but I’ve been able to get a good enough look at it every time that I’m pretty sure I’d recognize blood when I see it. And thanks to my abstinence from alcohol I’ve had plenty of time to become intimately familiar with many kinds of juices. With the exception of possibly tomato juice—my most hated of juices—I don’t believe any juice is thick enough to stick to what I assume is wood like blood would.

And while the new Ventriloquist looks suitably terrifying and hag-like on the cover, she doesn’t look nearly as bad in the book itself. Sure she’s skinny, but she doesn’t look nearly as skeletal as she does on the cover. And her face doesn’t match even the body in the book. Her face doesn’t look nearly thin enough. She still looks like she has some meat on her cheeks, which isn’t what I think they were going for with her character. Her skin color is definitely unusually grey, but considering that there are women in the DC universe alone that are hot and have unusual skin color, I don’t think grey skin tone necessarily makes her look any more creepy than normal pale skin or even a normal skin tone would. Ultimately, I shouldn’t be looking at this character and thinking, “Actually, she’s not that bad. ‘Bout a five out of ten maybe.”

What’s up with the random “He’s Barbara Gordon’s kinda cut date for tomorrow night”? Not only is that a weird caption box to have right next to a picture of his leg bent at an angle no limb was meant to bend at, but hasn’t it been established that he’s quite a bit younger than her? Then again, I don’t think it’s been explained how old Barbara is, but I’m going to assume mid-twenties. So still enough of a gap for it to be creepy. I really wish I knew what was up with DC and pairing their characters off with the most random people. Even the ones that somewhat make sense don’t actually. (I’m looking at you Superman and Wonder Woman) But these ones where it’s long established characters being paired off with random new characters make no sense. It’s not like it’s a new phenomenon, you always seem to be able to find writers that like to invent a new character to pair off with an established character. Ignoring of course the fact that most of these characters already have established romantic interests, and while some of them may not be currently involved with each other they have a lot more fan support than random kid x Batgirl. It’s almost like DC is staffed by a bunch of rabid shippers who only want to ship their OCs with Batman. But that of course is ridiculous, after all that would suggest a substantial lack of professionalism that just isn’t found in the professional comics circuit.

Right…?

The last point I feel that is worth mentioning is that Jim Gordon is not going to be treated well by this book for a while. For some reason he’s ignoring the fact that his son was a lunatic, who was threatening to murder the ex Mrs Barbara Gordon. Now I know that when people get divorced it’s generally because their feelings for each other weren’t as strong as they were at the beginning of their marriage. But I’d think that a good person like Jim Gordon would at least consider the fact that he once loved this woman, and that their son almost murdered her. I think that would take precedence over the fact that Batgirl killed James Jr while protecting an innocent woman.

Right…?

Ultimately I can’t say I was a huge fan of this issue. I enjoyed the first several issues of Batgirl, and we seem to be moving back into a similar format as those first few issues. Several reviewers back then were talking about how Simone should move on from that basic format to make something out of the book. Since then we’ve had several crossovers. But now that we’re free of those, and back into a regular Simone run, the book is starting to show the weight of the issues that have been piling up. If nothing else, I would really appreciate if this book lightened up. But, considering that the two issues that Simone was off the book were just as heavy as the regular Simone stuff I can’t really say whether this issue is due to Simone or editorial mandate. Considering how all the Bat Books are currently darker than even they should be, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a specific tone that is being set by the editorial department.

I’m still willing to give this series a chance, but it’s not one of the best books that I’ve been reading, and when coupling this one with Catwoman this week…well, let’s just say I was in a really bad mood last Wednesday. Thank goodness for Nightwing and the new MLP:FIM book or this would have been a really bad week.

The Grade

2/5

If you liked the review, consider picking up the trades:
Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (The New 52)
Batgirl Vol. 2: Knightfall Descends (The New 52)
Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family (The New 52)

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