Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Batgirl #17 Review and **SPOILERS**


A Thing for Dick

Writer: 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: November 22, 2017


Ooh, it’s the end of this weird story arc with all the flashbacks, and we’ll find out if Babs and Dick are gonna go steady! Or probably not, since sexual tension between them has become a hallmark of their relationship. It was Bob Rozakis that introduced that, in the pages of the Batman Family series from the 1970s! Realistically, Barbara should be about six to eight years older than Dick, so them smooching as teens and even young adults would be dodgy. But since The New 52, Convergence, Rebirth, Superman: Reborn, and whatever the hell is gonna happen in Doomsday Clock, who knows what’s in continuity? Check out my review of Batgirl #17, and receive no answers to that question!

Explain It!

There can’t be many people in modern society that haven’t had to deal with addiction in some way—a friend’s, a family member’s, or their own. Doubtless we are all reasonably familiar with the devastation addiction can cause, not just on the persons involved but on our greater society as a whole. America is currently dealing with an epidemic of opioid addiction, but in truth there has always been some addiction or another gripping our nation and murdering scores of people. We have certainly become inured to it, and have come to expect a certain percentage of society to be in the throes of perpetual maintenance.
Still, it’s often the last thing we suspect in others, despite obvious warning signs. I didn’t realize that my brother was a terrible drug addict until he died (though not from drug addiction.) A co-worker just went to rehab for six weeks, revealing at least to me that she struggled with her own demons. So I can understand that Babs would not want to admit to herself that Ainsley was addicted to drugs, despite the reality of the situation being so obvious. She palpably grapples with this while pummeling the Mad Hatter just after he explained Ainsley was a dope fiend, beating his face so severely that she has to be restrained by Nightwing before she kills Jervis Tetch. Barbara doesn’t, however, commandeer Ainsley’s brainwashing nanobots to enslave humanity in a bitter grasp at revenge. Ainsley sister Edith does.
Now calling herself the Red Queen, she sets a bunch of dog-sized nanobots against them (thereby eliminating the “nano” part of the word), each imbued with the ability to inject mind-wiping nanobots into someone and turn them into one of her zombies. In Nightwing’s case, he takes the identity of the Red King, which is rather presumptuous, until she reminds him of the swell smooches they exchanged as kids, at which point he shakes it off. Furious at this, the Red Queen suits up in her nonnano-bots like some kind of crazy Voltron, but is easily taken out by a Bat-kick or whatever. In the end, despite Dick having slept on the floor of Barbara’s bedroom the night prior, the two agree to be friends forever, which means that they’ll probably screw if they attend any weddings while single or if they happen to get too drunk on a Friday evening.
I guess the real story here was supposed to be the sexual tension between Barbara and Dick, because that other one about the nanobots was pretty thin. Actually, I got a lot more from Ainsley’s drug addiction than anything, and the learning process Barbara had to go through, even to the present day, in identifying and dealing with it. As for the tension, it was okay for a prime-time comic book, I don’t think we could have expected more, but since the two of them ended more or less in the same place they began, it was a bit superfluous. Better they had banged like rabbits on a rooftop and then gone on to do plain ol’ superheroin’ for the next three issues. The art continues to get stronger with each issue, and the subtle shift in color for the flashback scenes is a nice touch. Not a terrible effort all around once you become numb to the fact that this Batgirl is a selfish, lovesick dope.

Bits and Pieces:

Batgirl is in checkmate and the Red Queen holds all the cards! Dick rolls the dice and the devil's bones come up boxcars! Will our heroes pass "Go?" Will they collect two-hundred dollars?? In the end, it won't really matter, so proceed with resignation.


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