Art by: Bengal, Serge LaPointe and Steve Wands
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 23, 2015
My Mother the Motorcycle
I know that our site has had a rocky past with this run of Batgirl. Actually, it was mostly Eric who had been reviewing this book since our site started, but handed it over to me in June. Funny thing is, once I started reviewing it, Eric started liking it as much or more as I was. I'm not saying it became a perfect book, but when Fletcher and Stewart shifted the focus a bit from Barbara's selfie obsessed personal life to actually being Batgirl, the book became so much more fun. That's not to say that they have ditched the personal stuff because her interaction with Frankie and the surprise return of Alysia has been great as well. Throw in a blooming romance with Luke Fox and this book seems poised to prove that "Batgirling" a book is not a bad thing when done the right way. So, does this issue keep the good times rolling as Babs fights Velvet Tiger while planning a wedding and keeping her friend from becoming a vigilante? Let's find out...
The issue opens with Barbara racing on her motorcycle trying to find Jo. Alysia had told Babs about their little activist group and wanted to contact Batgirl. Consider it done as she goes to the warehouse from last issue and finds clues...and Velvet Tiger in the flesh.
The first thing that readers will notice this month is that Bengal is on art duties and while I have become more of a fan of Babs Tarr, this book looks really good. As far as Velvet Tiger goes, the idea of a mini skirt and high heels as a villain's costume isn't the most functional choice, but it's fun as she looks like something out of an anime and that's fine with me.
She may look like a lot of fun, but I think Batgirl would beg to differ. Velvet Tiger is downright ruthless and mean and in the middle of a pretty standard fight, pulls an ace out of her pocket. Actually, I'm not sure where she pulled it out of and I still don't fully understand how this"ace" actually works.
It's a device that triggers all of Batgirl's gadgets to go off in her belt and Velvet uses the distraction to sashay off to safety. Barbara goes off to find out what the hell just happens and with Qadir's help, she might have found out, but I was confused. Maybe I'm digging too deep into it and not just going with "comic science" ,but the talk of "picoseconds of those internal chronometers" and "kernel panic" just made me shake my head.
The get together with Qadir and Luke also brings to light a couple of other things. First, Qadir received a package that cleared his name of any wrongdoing (except maybe breaking and entering at the moment) and they figure out the identity of the Velvet Tiger. She is Lani Gilbert, the CEO of Gilcom and while it seems out of nowhere at first, it leads Barbara to Jeremy.
Poor Jeremy. Lani is his former girlfriend and she blackmailed him in order to get what she wanted. That may be a story as old as time itself, but this time it involved ruining people's life and worse. He's not a good guy, but at least he points Babs in the right direction to take down Lani.
When Barbara gets there, she is joined by Alysia and it's pretty kick-ass. As Barbara fights Lani and two tigers, Alysia does a little mission impossible and grabs Jo and takes her to safety. Then things go off the rails when Lani tranquilizes Barbara and her motorcycle saves her. I say off the rails as a compliment because I loved it. It's obvious that Frankie is behind it and the wanna be hero just made the grade in my book.
The issue ends with Barbara and Luke getting really close and Frankie verifying what we knew already...she is the breakout star of this book and is about to make a name for herself. I hate it that I'm worried that things are going to go bad real fast, but I'm going to enjoy it while I can.
I liked this issue, but for the way it sets up the book going forward. I am a huge fan of Luke Fox so anyway he stays in this book is great, but having him date Barbara is even better. Now, if we can just get him back in the Batwing costume! Like I already said, Frankie has quickly become a star and I hope that she becomes Batgirl's partner and not a disgruntled nemesis in the future. As far as Velvet Tiger goes, I could take her or leave her as a villain and most of the story surrounding her has been a bit convoluted, but it lead to all of the above so that's a plus. She's behind bars now and I doubt we'll see her anytime soon, anyway.
I loved Bengal's art this issue. It had a great kinetic energy to it and the fight scenes really popped. I also give him credit for doing his thing without stepping on the toes of Babs Tarr's usually art. He had already proved a great guest artist in his other appearances on this title and this issue just solidifies that. So, when are we going to get him on a book full time?
Bits and Pieces:
This issue ends the short reign of the Velvet Tiger, but I enjoyed the character development of the main characters more than the fistacuffs. Barbara's personal life is getting even more complicated going forward, but with Luke Fox involved and Frankie stepping up her game, it's all good to me. Bengal steps in this month on art and this book looks so good. While I want Barbara to deal with more than the villain of the month, I can't wait to see what happens next...including the wedding fans have been waiting for.