Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Batgirl #25 Review and **SPOILERS**

Bat in the Saddle

Creators: See Below 
Letterer: Deron Bennett 
Cover: Rafael Albuquerque 
Variant Cover: Joshua Middleton 
Editor: Brittany Holzherr 
Group Editor: Jamie S. Rich 
Cover Price: $4.99 
On Sale Date: August 15, 2018


I feel like we haven’t seen Batgirl comics in a while, but it has actually been only a month. It also feels like there should be more issues since Rebirth than twenty-five. Have I slipped into that alternate dimension where Nelson Mandela died in the 1990s? I could be Sliding™ back any time, so hurry and check out my review of Batgirl #25 while it still exists!

Explain It!

So I thought this was going to be the beginning of Batgirl’s “new direction,” but it looks like DC has instead determined that issue #25 is an “anniversary issue,” and made it an oversized book with three stories. So let’s absorb these yarns on their own merits!

“The Reason” 
Writer: Mairghread Scott 
Penciller: Tom Derenick 
Inker: Sean Parsons 
Colorist: Stephen Downer 
This reads like a classic Batgirl story, full of intrigue, detective work, and high-flying kick-based beatdowns. Seems the Scarecrow attacked Burnside College some time ago, floating his Fear Gas along the hallowed halls of B.C. Batgirl pitches in to help the victims, and finds a classroom run by one teacher named Duane that is surprisingly calm and orderly—thanks to the teacher’s quick thinking and pointed orders. Ten months later, he was murdered at his own wedding by the Joker, and now Batgirl is despondent, wondering what is the point of it all. Duane’s mom tells Batgirl that she did them a good turn, gave Duane a few extra months of life and happiness, and this is supposed to be worthwhile. The ending fell a little flat, but the story was very nicely told by the creative team. 

“Hopeless Romantic” 
Writer: Marguerite Bennett 
Artist: Dan Panosian 
Color: Jordie Bellaire 
Feeling emotionally needy, Barbara Gordon asks Dick Grayson to spend the night with her at some posh Gotham hotel. They flirt for a few pages, and Barbara seems down to bump uglies, but the story ends with Babs cuddling up on Dick’s chest, not unlike many romantic scenarios that involved me when I was in junior high school. This one is for those that get all giddy thinking of Barbara and Dick smooching; for the rest of us, it’s an inventory back-up that found life here. 

Writer: Mairghread Scott 
Penciller: Paul Pelletier 
Inker: Norm Rapmund 
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire 
This one teases a story to be continued in the next issue of Batgirl, involving a motorcycle-riding killer named Grotesque who kills people…grotesquely. She has a face-to-horned helmet fight, but the murderer gets away—to be continued! Not a whole lot to latch onto here, except that the plotting is perfect and the story is interesting enough. I’ll give this one a little benefit of the doubt. 
“March Madness” 
Writer: Paul Dini 
Penciller: Emanuela Lupacchino 
Inker: Ray McCarthy 
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire 
A Tip of the Rabbit Ears to: Dustin Nguyen 
This story involved Harriet Pratt, one-time sidekick to the villain Mad Hatter who went under the name…March Harriet. And yes, she dresses like a goth Playboy Bunny, as you may have guessed. Batgirl busts into her lair, but Harriet uses her trick bunny ears to paralyze her. Later, after Harriet sends the rest of her gang home, she gives herself up to Babs after telling her story of being a club waitress that was mistreated by misogynistic patrons. When Harriet and her girlfriend discover that the club owner is peddling some advanced white noise machines, they endeavor to steal one, which gets them mixed up with the mob…and the Mad Hatter, who is pissed that his technology is being misused. The mob kills Harriet’s girlfriend, so Harriet joins up with the Hatter to wage war on…everything? At the end, Batgirl figures out this whole thing was a ruse, and one of Harriet’s minions is trussed up in a nearby safe, and that person is actually the owner of said safe! So the story was just a ruse to make this guy asphyxiate. Batgirl slaps the cuffs on March Harriet and is taking her to jail, but she escapes to annoy Babs another day. A pretty serviceable, if somewhat boring, story.

I didn’t expect to see an anthology, but now that it’s here, things could be worse. Fans of Batgirl that want some hints about where the series is going will find them here, along with some ancillary stuff that will probably have some general bearing going forward. People that hopped off Batgirl since she moved to Burnside might be interested to see what this is about, too. It’s not a perfect comic book, but a lot of the smarts and abilities Babs used to have are in evidence again, which is good news for those that have wanted some more familiar stories from this character.

Bits and Pieces:

A suprise four-story anthology yields some tantalizing threads for future issues of Batgirl, and a couple of stories that don't do a whole lot else but fill pages. It could be worse. Fans hoping for a return of the more familiar Batgirl from her pre-Burnside days could be enticed by this issue.


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