Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Batgirl #15 Review and **SPOILERS**

Won’t They/Won’t They

Script: Hope Larson 
Pencils: Chris Wildgoose 
Inks: Jose Marzan Jr. 
Colors: Mat Lopes 
Letters: Deron Bennett 
Cover: Dan Mora 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: September 27, 2017


Oooh, do you see what Dick and Babs are doing on the cover? K-I-S-S-I-N-G! As I understand it, the next steps are to climb a tree together and then Babs pushes Dick around in a baby carriage? I confess I am not a natural romantic. Well, let’s see if these two crazy kids end up making out while Mr. Freeze gets away or something, shall we? Check out my review of Batgirl #15, right here!

Explain It!

Human relationships are a difficult place to dismantle traditional gender roles. Even same-sex relationships tend to have a “wife” and a “husband” when considering how they divide their respective duties. The universal thing, here, the human desire to love and be loved. We allow things with our closest friends and relatives we would never brook at work, or in the street. And likewise, we allow our personalities and beliefs to be subsumed by those to whom we admire and are most attracted to. There’s nothing devious about it, this is pure human nature. Our most beloved can penetrate and even negate the veneers that we apply for the waking world every single day.
On the trail of the Red Queen, Batgirl and Nightwing take one of the afflicted and run an MRI on her—reducing her to cinders in the machine. Dick feels pretty bad about this, but it turns out later on that she was stuffed with a zillion nanobots so that they comprised 70% of her body…so if it had been 10% would she have gotten just superficial burns? Still, Dick can’t get over feeling like he may have been hasty when shoving strangers into magnetic fields, and while he fumes and fusses Barbara plants a big smooch on him. Yep! It’s just like that scene in Boyz N the Hood, when Cuba Gooding Jr. comes back from not avenging his best friend and punches at the air in front of his girlfriend Nia Long, and then she comes over to comfort him and he grips her tightly while on his knees so that his face is right next to her vagina. But less clutching, more kissing. More literally, Barbara plants a kiss on him. And then things get awkward.
A slightly strange but not altogether terrible thing is the preponderance of flashback material in this issue, a continuation of Dick and Barbara’s first job in the way-back and long-ago. Not only do we see their first—and much more mutually-enjoyed—kiss, but a lot of the puzzle pieces comprising this mystery happen in the flashbacks. Namely, that Ainsley (who is totally the Red Queen, come on now) made hallucinogenic nanobots back in the day, and also was on the run from some shady guys in black Devo costumes. There’s nothing specifically wrong with this information being imparted in the correctly-depicted time period, it just made the book read a little clunky. Though maybe that was a good effect to simulate the tension and embarrassment that exists between Batgirl and Nightwing.
Not an altogether bad book, if you’ve come accustomed to Barbara Gordon being a bit of a dimwit. The interplay between her and Dick was pretty good, in fact I think I liked the two of them in flashbacks more than in the present. There might be a big switcheroo for the Red Queen, like it will turn out to be Ainsley’s stalker or cousin or something, but it doesn’t really matter. The story isn’t very compelling, but it’s executed well enough and the art is pretty terrific throughout. If we could stay at this keel for more of the series, I’d call that a win.

 Bits and Pieces:

A tantalizing smooch on the cover deserves a full-on make out session in the interior--but you'll have to get the issue to find out! And beyond the alleged kiss, it's a pretty nice story with some tasty clues to the mystery at hand and a lot of prequel information doled out liberally in flashback scenes. It reads slightly clunky, but that only contributes to the effect of Batgirl and Nightwing's pairing.


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