Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Batgirl #26 Review and **SPOILERS**

The Chip’s Warranty is Up

Writer: Mairghread Scott 
Penciller: Paul Pelletier 
Inker: Norm Rapmund 
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire 
Letterer: Deron Bennett 
Main Cover Artists: Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth 
Variant Cover Artist: Joshua Middleton 
Editor: Brittany Holzherr 
Group Editor: Jamie S. Rich 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: August 29, 2018


We got a taste of the new creative team in Batgirl #25 from a couple of weeks ago, but this issue would be the proper start of their run. I mean, as “proper” as it can be, it’s not like Miss Manners has a rule about it. Anyway, I am excited. So let’s snap on our capes while reading my review of Batgirl #26, how about it?

Explain It!

In case you missed the last issue, Barbara was investigating some disturbance at a suburban home, when she found the entire family brutally murdered in the living room and the word “GROTESQUE” scrawled above the fireplace in their blood. Outside, the assumed murderer, a guy in a horned helmet, was taking off on his motorcycle, so Babs gave chase on her own. And that brings us to right now, when they’re racing through Burnside’s gritty streets, Barbara tearing up her costume along the way (hmm...) and thinking about the other grody murders committed by this guy—who she is calling “Grotesque,” incidentally. This makes her think back to her spine being shot to pieces by the Joker in The Killing Joke, and…I thought we were trying to move away from that stuff? Like, I know it’s an important moment in Barbara’s history, but I’m not the one that keeps addressing it. Just sayin’. Here, it gives Barbara an opportunity to reminisce, and for the reader to recall her overall story: paralyzed by the Joker, Barbara got a special microchip implanted in her spine that allows her to be mobile—very mobile, considering she’s Batgirl. So remember that bit about the chip, it will be important later.
Eventually, Barbara makes it to Grotesque’s hideout—a luxury apartment overlooking the water. Why she was chasing Grotesque so closely, I’m not sure, since she threw a tracking device on his bike. Once there, she finds he’s taken a hostage and is holding his super taser up to the chubby guy’s face. Thankfully, she had the prescience of mind to contact the police before engaging with Grotesque, which she does by kicking him in the face. They tumble into a fountain, and there Grotesque jabs his taser into the small of Barbara’s back—right in her microchip!
This makes everything go weird for the rest of the issue: she has flashes of fighting Grotesque, then a smoke bomb goes off and she falls out of a window high up in this apartment building—despite last dealing with Grotesque on the ground floor. She’s able to break her fall enough that she doesn’t pulverize when she hits the river, then Barbara pulls herself out, her costume looking more like tattered rags (HMMM…). Driving back to the scene of the crime, she remembers seeing blueprints, lots of explosives, but nothing concrete. And back at the apartment building, a firefighter tells Babs that the guy living in that apartment torched the place and jumped…so the evidence is burned away, presumably. This requires some sneaking into the GCPD and getting some encrypted files, but while there, she has a seizure and faints dead away!
This is a really good issue, full of intrigue and character moments that you might miss, but which build the picture of a capable, brilliant person in charge of being Batgirl. Using her eidetic memory, putting clues together…it’s like she’s a detective again! Scenes where her spine chip was wigging out were appropriately plotted, and had a very disorienting effect that was spot on for Barbara’s condition. This is exciting folks: I am interested to find out what happens to these characters next issue. I believe this is what they call a compelling story with a likeable protagonist.

Bits and Pieces:

Continuing right from where the story in the last issue left off, this one offers no great details about the new baddie, but plenty of potential for Batgirl to go in a new direction...including a new costume? The story offered here isn't complete, but it does make me anxious for the next issue, and that's a pretty good sign.


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