Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Batgirl #21 Review and **SPOILERS**

Daddy/Daughter Day

Writer: Hope Larson 
Art: Scott Godlewski 
Colors: John Rauch 
Letters: Deron Bennett 
Main Cover: Dan Mora
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: March 28, 2018


Oh boy, it’s another issue of Batgirl! That means I’m probably going to have problems with it in this review, but we’ll have a hoot and a holler about it on the weekly Weird Science podcast. So be sure to tune in next Sunday…unless this book becomes a Patreon Spotlight title! Then you’ll have to join the Patreon to hear it! ( For now, check out my review of Batgirl #21, right here!

Explain It!

Something that really grosses me out is when dudes talk about women’s “daddy issues.” Neil Patrick Harris played a character that acted in such a way on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, but most fellas know or have known one or more guys like this. The implication from casual discussion is that all women want to fuck their fathers, so by assuming that role you’re on the fast track to sex. Never mind that their own “mommy issues” never come up in such talks, it’s always about how this familial tie can be exploited for personal gain. Personally, I don’t think “daddy issues” can be translated purely to oedipal desires; many women, and many people in general, simply seek better, more fulfilling relationships with their parents. And parents, being human beings and therefore frustratingly withholding or self-involved when we’d rather they behave otherwise, compound these feelings of rejection or being ignored.
Barbara Gordon has it even worse: not only does she have her own “daddy issues” with her Police Commissioner dad, who spends many long nights and extra hours pursuing crime, but Babs also has an alter ego: Batgirl. One she must hide from her father and so must hold him at bay even as they pursue the exact same interest (crime-bustin’, naturally.) So when they find themselves tracking down clues surrounding the curious comatose conditions of several ladies that use the face cream “Bio Glass,” things get a little…awkward. For Barbara, at least. Jim Gordon seems uninterested in the fact that he’s working closely with Batgirl, and that she looks suspiciously like his daughter. Indeed, if I were a gambling man, I’d suggest that he knows his daughter and Batgirl are one and the same, and he’s just not giving up the ghost. Who can say? Jim Gordon keeps his own counsel.
After the usual, convoluted, Bill Dozier-derived mucking about, Jim and Babs come upon the reason for these disappearances: Bio Glass is made from some living, alien organism, who tries to recombine with its parts as parceled out into tubes of cream whenever one is opened near a drain. Then, it shoots out of the train, sucks all of itself from the victim, and departs, as silently as fifty pounds of Jell-O might sound being sucked through a drainpipe. Barbara finds she can harden the jelly monster with some bleach, but accidentally locks her dear old dad inside the belly of the jelly beast! So she dives in herself, gets her pop out, and leaves this thing looking like a pile of shattered grape Jolly Ranchers. I don’t think a comic book has made me want candy more than this one, in recent memory.
I quite enjoyed seeing Barbara and her father collude on a case, it’s something they’ve dallied with through the series, and I felt they made a pretty cool team. The artwork, handled by Scott Godlewski, is also really solid (Chris Wildgoose is working on some other, secret DC Comics project now). But for once, the story just isn’t silly enough for me to enjoy. The premise of a beauty product being sentient and absorbing its components sounds funny, but the execution was really flat and dull throughout. This thing read more like one of those Silver Age Detective Comics issues, where Batman teams up with Commissioner Gordon by showing how stupid and ineffective the GCPD is. And perhaps that’s what the author was going for here. But those Silver Age comics are goofy, and trying to surmount that bar is like rushing into a public rest room to get your preferred toilet stall. No matter what, you’re just adding shit where someone else shat before.

Bits and Pieces:

A Gotham City connection that should be exciting falls flat when the content of the story proves stale. The new art team handles their duties superbly, but somehow the usual chuckle-worthy situation isn't here. Maybe it will be back in the next issue.


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