Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Batgirl #10 Review and **SPOILERS**



Asshole Son, Won’t You Come

Script: Hope Larson 
Pencils & Cover: Chris Wildgoose 
Inks: Jon Lam 
Colors: Mat Lopes 
Letters: Deron Bennett 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: April 26, 2017

**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**

It’s something to see how dating and general communication has changed so drastically in such a short span of time. I remember when video dating—that’s recording a monologue on VHS tapes brokered by a self-appointed matchmaker—was considered so “out there,” now people can flip through and rate a few dozen profiles while waiting for their fast food order to be done. I guess making snap judgments about one another based on curated visual representation is the last moment before robot takeover. Welcome our Terminator overlords! But first, check out my review of Batgirl #10, right here!

Explain It!
Remember how the last issue ended with Batgirl breaking into Ethan Cobblepot’s office after hours, only to find his dad the Penguin already there, offering to play some ping pong? Well, this issue begins with them fucking playing ping pong. Is this real life? The Penguin is, at best, a ruthless Gotham City crime boss, and at worst, a psychopathic killer once housed in Arkham Asylum, so you certainly don’t want to entertain a round of ping pong or foosball with him. I could even see Babs talking to him, but to pump him for information, not to compliment the Penguin on his backhand. While batting around the ol’ pupil-less eyeball, the Penguin says he’s sure Ethan engineered the riot that broke out at the Iceberg Lounge that evening, though he doesn’t have any proof. So Batgirl ditches the ping pong game and heads over to the Iceberg Lounge with her dad Commissioner Gordon, which I guess is a thing she can do, to survey the crime scene. Babs explains that the riot was tipped off by three separate but simultaneous incidents: a fella that found out his girlfriend was cheating on him, a lady who figured out her coworker had her fired, and another fella who learned that his roommate sold his dog on the internet. Somehow, these three were made to act out at the same time, and hey guess what they all used Ethan Cobblepot’s many hipster smart phone apps, how about that I couldn’ta guessed.
What is it with Batgirl and its obsession with mind control? It was pretty much the entire story of the Stewart/Fletcher/Tarr run on the title, and now here it is again: a smart phone app that can make people act out or whatever. We’ve been sheep ever since the transistor radio was invented, so let’s not act like a brainwashing game of Candy Crush is a new concept. While Batgirl futzes around at the Iceberg Lounge, Ethan texts her. He’s pretty pissed off because she ditched him at the soiree they were attending together, and intended to conclude together with a toothbrush swap. Or something like that. Anyway, Ethan is pretty miffed, so he tells Barbara to meet him at a bar called Fathoms, where he has an intern break up with her. That’s pretty much the height of a dick move. Later, while texting with Dick Grayson, she finds Ethan’s added insult to injury by posting pictures of her playing ping pong with his father. It’s all too much for Babs to process, so she heads out for a late-night motorcycle ride with Dick, who shows up outside her apartment window in a way that is somehow not a bit creepy at all.
The next morning, Barbara awakes to find out that Frankie is back, and regretting her decision to move out. Babs, Alysia and Frankie head to brunch, because that’s what women do, and it seems Frankie’s new arrangement is a lot more crowded and noisy than she’s used to. When Frankie works late, her girlfriend gets pissed off that they’re not spending more time together. Barbara confesses that Ethan dumped her by intern, and all of this makes Alysia feel a lot better about her spat with Jo. She realizes that having a kid is a scary proposition, but they’re doing a lot better than the two dopes sharing melon slices at the same table. Just then, a car hits a lamppost outside and it smashes into the restaurant, almost hurting one or more of the trio! Barbara hustles them away in time, and finds out that the car’s automatic driver malfunctioned, which of course is due to Ethan Cobblepot. By meditating and…becoming one with the Internet? Barbara is able to reconstruct the car accident, and traces it back to Ethan finding out she hung out with Dick the night before. So now it’s time to suit up and do…something, I guess. And at just that moment, Ethan’s entered the Iceberg Lounge to threaten his father, the Penguin—in his new one green-eyed look and identity as Blacksun! In a costume with green holographic rings around himself!
Why is Barbara so inept in this comic book? I know she’s got a positive outlook on life, but she sure spends a lot of time farting around wondering about shit, instead of making something happen. Playing ping pong with the Penguin is nonsense, no matter how pleasingly alliterative it is. Also, that thing at the end where she entered the Internet by centering her chi or whatever was bullshit. And I don’t buy that this power would allow her to see the exact details of that accident. That being said, I really did enjoy the give-and-take between Frankie, Babs and Alysia, and I do think Chris Wildgoose’s art is getting tighter all the time. I dunno. The main character in this book annoys me but there are some meritable scenes. Perhaps this is a good portent.

Bits and Pieces:

Turns out the Internet is a dangerous thing, and I don't just mean the YouTube comments. The story creeps forward incrementally, but there are some nice character moments, and the debut of a new supervillain. There's also the debut of a new skill exhibited by an old supervillain, about which I am dubious.

6.5/10
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