Monday, May 5, 2014

Batgirl Annual #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Robert Gill, Javier Garron
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: April 30, 2014

An Ivy For All Seasons

Here we are with the second Batgirl Annual, and it's a very Poison Ivy heavy issue.  This issue is a callback to when Poison Ivy was a part of Birds of Prey, and then left the team after trying to kill everyone.  Just so you know up front, I never read any of those issues but I'll try to get the story across to any of you Birds of Prey fans out there, and try not to jump to any conclusions because like I said I don't know.  So let's quit talking about things I have no knowledge of, and jump into this story.

Explain It!:

Our story begins in the past with the original Birds of Prey trying to take down a mystery man known as Mr. Rain.  By original I mean Batgirl, Black Canary, Starling, Katana, and Poison Ivy.  The team goes in and finds that the people working for Mr. Rain are ordinary dying people who have no background in being trained soldiers or criminals, but what they do have is enhanced strength that can crush bricks, so that's something.  The team takes them down, and even though they didn't get Mr. Rain, Poison Ivy is whispered something by one of the enhanced henchmen.  

Now we jump ahead in time where Barbara is recruited by her roommate Alysia, to help out with her volunteer program that plans on turning a vacant lot into a garden.  Even though we just jumped ahead a bit in time we'll do it again, and jump ahead to three months later, where Barbara is still working on the garden.  Now it might just have been the summer heat talking, but Alysia gets mighty pissed off when Barbara wants to know about more security because some of the veggies are being stolen.  In Alysia's mind these veggies are for anybody and everybody that wants a little green in their diet, and Barbara is insensitive about people who might not be able to afford said vegetables.  Luckily in the days when I had a roommate we had way more pressing things to fight about like dishes, laundry, and who ate my Memaw's special potato salad.  Well enough of the roommate squabbles, it's time to Batgirl up and go out on the town to check out a new lead on Mr. Rain.  Batgirl scopes out a militia compound where Rain is moving state of the art medical equipment to, and her intel says Mr. Rain is holding hostages inside.  Sounds like a pretty big job, and luckily a less crazy Ivy shows up and is willing to lend a hand.  Well a less "I wanna kill Batgirl" Ivy.  So the two move in, and fight off more of Mr. Rain's implanted super guards, and Ivy displays a huge spike in her power set, which is very off putting, and we find out that Rain's super soldier three months ago whispered to her that Rain can cure her.  Inside the compound we find that all the hostages are dead, and have been cut open and hung in a cold storage locker, but there are no signs of Mr. Rain himself.

Again we jump ahead to three months later where Batgirl and Ivy are teaming up to find the man who whispered to her in the beginning of the book.  The man's name is James Tucker, and he's still dying.  We find out that Mr. Rain gave him a proposition, if he did what Rain wanted, Rain could extend his life by six months.  So being a good father who wanted to be there for his daughter six months more than he originally could, he agreed.  He was given implants that strengthened his organs, but after six months the organs would be removed and given to rich buyers that wanted to extend there own lives with super organs.  This explains all the bodies that Batgirl and Ivy found three months ago.  This story upsets Batgirl, and after having a fight with Ivy about how emotionless she is, Batgirl leaves.  So to possibly prove a point, Ivy ends Mr. Tucker's agony by planting one on him in a weird bit of mercy.

Yeah you guessed it, three months later.  Now we're in the dead of winter, and Alysia is upset because some vandals came into there garden area and set a fire.  To add a bit of douchebaggery to the crime they soaked the ground in kerosene so nothing would ever grow there again.  Well it's time for Barbara to cowl up, and go take her aggression out on the scum of Gotham.  It's a good thing Ivy had gotten a hold of her with Mr. Rain's actual location, or a bunch of asshole teenagers might have gotten a boot to their faces.  When we finally see Ivy we see that winter is affecting her like a plant.  She's bone thin, sunken in eyes, and pretty much just ragged.  Batgirl understands that all these versions of Ivy we've seen this issue is do to the seasons changing.  They find Mr. Rain cutting wood outside a small cabin, it turns out that Mr. Rain is a bit of environmentalist, and like Ivy wants to leave the smallest impact on the earth that he can.  Before Batgirl can bring in the elusive Mr. Rain, Rain tells Ivy that if she kills Batgirl he'll cure her.  Well not being one to take orders, Ivy unleashes icy hell on the man, and proclaims herself Poison Ice in a bit of silly dialogue.  She doesn't really have ice powers it's more frozen roots she controls, and is ready to render the deathblow to Mr. Rain, but Batgirl get's Ivy to show a little mercy.  The more straightforward kind.

In the end Batgirl and Ivy get their man, and to show she's sorry for trying to kill her and the rest of the Birds of Prey awhile ago, she does Batgirl a favor.  Alysia shows up at a blooming garden, and her faith in people is restored, and Batgirl realizes that Alysia's faith and trust is something to be admired, and is sorry she ever thought otherwise.  This concludes this very strange Annual.

Bits and Pieces:

This was a very different kind of story than I was expecting when I first picked it up.  While I admire the emotional arc the story took, I ultimately wasn't a fan, and thought it was a strange way to redeem Poison Ivy of betraying her team way back when.  It takes a long time, and a lot of dead bodies to get to Ivy having emotions, and Batgirl accepting her roommates trust in people.  While I would love to say that the art is a plus in the issue I can't and felt that Ivy just looked strange, and Batgirl seemed to have spasms and facial tics the entire issue.  I'm sure a lot of people will love this emotionally charged story, but it just didn't do it for me.


No comments:

Post a Comment