Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Batgirl #16 Review and **SPOILERS**

We Made the Scene With the Red Queen

Script: Hope Larson 
Pencils: Chris Wildgoose 
Inks: Jose Marzan Jr. and Andy Owens 
Colors: Mat Lopes 
Letters: Deron Bennett 
Cover: Dan Mora 
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: October 25, 2017


This has been the first arc in Batgirl I didn’t actively dislike…okay, I did laugh a lot at that quick two-parter that preceded this, but it was primarily because it was so ludicrous. But that’s a type of comic book fun! Not worth the cover price, perhaps, but still worthwhile. Maybe this issue is the most worthwhile of the arc—check it out in my review of Batgirl #16 and see what you think!

Explain It!

My personal experience has been that people have conformed to the expectations set on them in high school. Over-achievers have become anxious, successful professionals, while the school’s potheads and losers have become comic book reviewers. Life’s experiences take us in unforeseen and unprecedented directions, but you can see, more or less, how someone’s going to wind up when they’re sixteen. It’s a cruel fact of life that its contours are partially-shaped by a stubborn worldview cultivated during puberty, one which probably makes us more incorrigible than it does intellectual.
Like the last issue, much of this one is told in flashback, when Dick Grayson was still Robin and Batgirl had a grey-and-blue costume. In fact, so much of it is told in flashback, I sometimes failed to notice when we snapped back to the present. There’s a slight shift in color for the moments taking place in hindsight, but it could have been better defined, at least for this old codger whose eyes ain’t what they used to be. What they learn is something I thought we already knew, that Ainsley developed nanobots that could be programmed to induce shared hallucinations—or to control someone’s mind! The Mad Hatter was interested in this technology, since it does essentially what his hat tickets do, and kidnapped Ainsley to work for him. That much we know.
What we didn’t know is that Ainsley was getting high on her own supply, and even attended group therapy meetings to deal with her addiction. It got so bad, that she wound up a junkie, living on the street, where she died. She left a journal, which Nightwing and Batgirl surmise was picked up her sister Edith—who is most likely the Red Queen! Also, that annoying “Emoji” song that the nanoheads keep playing induces a shared hallucination, a fact Batgirl uses to her advantage when several mind-controlled hospital staffers go berserk under the Red Queen’s thrall. I don’t know if that will be important later, but it was a cool scene for what it was.
This issue, however, was pretty flat. It extends the story needlessly, adds very little information to the mystery of the Red Queen (uh, except for her identity, which is something), and doesn’t really develop Babs and Dick’s relationship in the past or present. There is a point in the past that they kiss again, and Babs asks Dick to come home with her—but I have the feeling it’s to play computer games or something, as colorless as their interactions have been. This story isn’t horrible, but it could have been three issues, easily. This one is just padding it out unnecessarily.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue feels like a placeholder that doesn't do a lot to advance this mystery. There's some Babs and Dick smooching, but that was supposed to be the bombshell two issues ago. Now I'd just like to wrap this up with the usual stumbles and bumbles we've come to expect from Batgirl.



  1. I wonder if the different Bat writers are aware of what's happening in each other's books.

  2. I know that last time this series came out someone was complaining about how thin Dick is drawn. I rather appreciate the style, though. I don't like seeing big muscular heroes, especially if I am meant to see them as attractive. I like that Dicck was drawn with a lithe, feminine form. I can't say what non-queer girls like, so my opinion may be biased. If I have to look at a guy, make him girly. :3