Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Batgirl #20 Review and **SPOILERS**

None Can Withstand My Niceness Beam

Writer: Hope Larson 
Artist: Sam Basri 
Colors: Jessica Kholinne 
Letters: Deron Bennett 
Main Cover: Dan Mora 
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: February 28, 2018


Oh man, another issue of Batgirl. Set internal mood to “goofy” and dive right into my review of Batgirl #20, commencing now!

Explain It!

I happen to adhere to Occam’s Razor: “The simplest explanation is usually the best.” Based on the best available evidence: the earth is round, UFOs are swamp gas, chemtrails are just wispy-looking clouds. I do not prefer these resolutions, however, in my fiction. There I prefer to see unexpected twists that aren’t telegraphed from the very beginning; in fiction, we don’t actually want the butler to have done it. It’s these switcheroos that make fiction engrossing and readable, that take us away from the mundane.
For this series, though, perhaps giving the reader what they could probably figure out might be for the best. Recall that Barbara Gordon once had two great abilities: her genius and her eidetic memory. Well, she’s not been a genius for some time, but she can still use her eidetic memory to find a location within Burnside without using Google Maps…that’s just using your memory, Babs. She even remembers life events that happened along the way to this location, proving that it’s a matter of perfectly normal mental recall and not some hyper-memory of Burnside’s various avenues and streets. Eventually, she makes it to Qadir, who is on the floor of his, er, office, beaten up and feeling bad that someone took his equipment—what Batgirl calls a Trust Ray, but which I like to call a Niceness Beam. It just has a nicer ring to it.
Using her eidetic memory on a recording of the guy that stole the item, Barbara is able to tell it’s Ethan Cobblepot aka Blacksun, which is probably bullshit but we’ll roll with it because it’s not the silliest thing to happen in this book by far.
And so it turns out that Ethan stole the machine for his dad, the Penguin, to aid his run for Congress while he builds goodwill during Gotham City’s freak but not entirely destabilizing blizzard. I mean, this blizzard of Blacksun’s, it’s not that impressive. I suppose creating any amount of snow is worth mentioning, but for a blizzard this thing seems fairly paltry. Everything comes to a head when the Penguin is announcing his candidacy before a very grateful group of Burnside citizens, when Batgirl takes out Ethan’s Niceness Beam and eventually foists them off on the cops while everyone just sort of shrugs and walks away. At the end, Barbara scrutinizes herself in the mirror and seems to be considering…another costume change!!! Try to remain calm for the next thirty days.
Along the way, you can expect Barbara to be fairly dopey with lots of goofball dialogue and flat-out silly interactions. That has been this series’ hallmark, and I wish I’d realized it sooner because I might have enjoyed it more. This particular issue is a bit of a let-down, since Ethan Cobblepot helping his father out for nefarious purposes is a bit obvious…though we didn’t even know the Penguin had nefarious purposes until now. So maybe the real crime is that this was two issues where there should have been one. The artwork is spectacular, I know Chris Wildgoose has been pulled to some other secret project, but Basri and Kholinne are well familiar with Burnside and lend it their collective expert touch. If you love this series, you might give this a higher score. But then I’d have to ask what your reasoning is.

Bits and Pieces:

Batgirl be Batgirlin'. Even within that context, this is a pretty flat issue that offers a few gags and no real thrills. There are a few stupid contrivances and eye-rolling conveniences that are now the hallmarks of this series. So if you're coming for those, sidle up to the buffet.


1 comment:

  1. This is a very spot on review but i do think the series has gotten goofier since the beginning.