Sooo… Funny story.
That whole Gothtopia storyline? From last issue? That all takes place in other books. So, I still don’t know what’s going on in there. I guess I’ll do a recap once the story wraps up. For now…. We have VAMPIRES?!?
Okay. Why not?
In this issue, we add a new character to Batgirl’s cast. His name is Uchida, but he goes by Silver when he’s…
Gets brought a beverage and then is bathed by his female butler? No…
Hero-worships the villains of Gotham? No…
Oh, wait, here it is.
While he dons a Phantom of the Opera mask and practices opening fire on the Bat-Family with automatic weaponry.
So, cut to Barbara, running across rooftops and totally aware of the fact that somebody is following her.
She’s been trying to take out copycat killers, fans of the Brisby Killers from way back in the first issue.
But by the time she gets to ground level…
And she realizes who it must’ve been.
Of course, they do battle. Because using your words is only for toddlers and people in court-mandated anger management classes.
Now, remember, kids. Use your words. Because it turns out that Batgirl just punched a friend in the face.
Strix is a member of Birds of Prey, mostly because she’s dangerous as fuck and can be both trained as a hero and kept tabs on as a potential threat. She’s a threat because she’s a girl who lost her family, her ability to speak, her childhood, and then was “chosen as a Talon, an ageless, undead assassin, for the Court of Owls.” Luckily, Batgirl notes, she trusts her.
Babs asks her why she’s following her. Strix points to a lost child poster and Barbara assures her that the Gotham PD are actually pretty darn good when it comes to finding lost children.
Barbara asks why she insists that this become a Batgirl thing. Strix points out a part of the poster that points out that the missing girl, Cissy Chastain, cannot speak due to a childhood illness. She writes out for Batgirl that she’s a detective, that they’ll find the girl together, and that that’s why she didn’t want to contact the rest of the Birds of Prey.
Okay. Not exactly a reasonable explanation as far as not having several extra sets of eyes and their resources looking for a missing child. But whatever. Comics.
Barbara takes a sec to ziptie the crooks up for the cops before they set out. Apparently, though, her detective skills need some work because she misses some pretty glaring problems here.
Silver, meanwhile, is spying on the both of them. And this is what the scene looks like to him.
For some reason, Batgirl thinks that the best first option is to strike a deal with Knightfall. Just fucking right away. Before she’s even tried anything else.
Back in the alley, Silver does the knocked out gang members the favour of murdering them. Hooray!
At Barbara’s apartment, she’s got Strix looking through her closet for plainclothes detective type clothing. Strix immediately picks out Babs’ pink, frilly prom dress, clutching it to her chest like treasure.
They show up at the Chastain home to interview the missing girl’s mother. Babara uses a GCPD badge that she just “found” in the ladies’ locker room at the station. Because she’s a thief.
Anywho, the mother reveals that her husband disappeared some time back. Barbara thinks that the two events must be related.
But there aren’t a lot of leads, unfortunately, so Babs and Strix are back to hoofing it. But before they can hail a cab, and before Barbara can call her way too fucking needy boyfriend back, Silver shows up.
She plays dumb, and he waxes on about how the Bats are controlling the city, given free reign and owning towers and sewers alike. She asks him for clarification, kind of seeing where he’s going with this and concerned, but also seeing more than a little bit of crazy in this whole situation.
He claims to have killed dozens of her kind. Cue the fight scene.
This whacko is a whacko, but he’s also ready for her.
The police arrive and Barbara immediately assumes a protective, I’m-the-victim position, but it’s not 100% clear that she’s not going to be arrested.
Silver boasts, though, that he’s already won anyways. Because, you see dear readers, he’s captured the vampire queen. And strapped a bomb to her. And the bomb will go off at dawn and kill her.
Of course, the little girl is the vampire queen to this guy. Silver is totally going to turn out to be her dad and this is gonna be some kind of psychological thing where he blames her for the fact that his wife and his sex life never quite bounced back since before the pregnancy or some bullshit. Like that scene in “The Heat” but instead of soliciting a prostitute, the guy from “Arrested Development” designs an elaborate plot to assign classic movie monster personas and then murder them horribly. So… Well, note really like that scene in “The Heat” at all, then I guess.
Sooo, Awesome. Child abduction. Crazy people with delusions and hallucinations. And a bomb with a countdown of just a few hours. And a missing father somewhere in this whole mess.
So, I think that I’ve already mentioned that I hope that Batgirl is slowly going crazy. She’s a character that I can really see going rogue. I actually don’t think that anyone in the Bat-Family, and I mean really in the Bat-Family has ever become a real villain. Plus, she would make an incredible nemesis for virtually anyone in the DCU, but particularly for Batman. A true match. Because, yes, he’s outmatched her in the past, but she’s always held back. If she no longer held back, but he continued to do so (and we all know that he would still feel an obligation to her), she’d whoop his ass.
But I digress… Often.
I do hope, in the meantime, that she is arrested for being a part of this street fight. How is Barbara going to explain her mad skills, her appearance at the home of a woman whose daughter is the subject of a police investigation, and her possession of a GCPD badge and subsequently impersonating an officer?
That’s what I want to read about next week. Oh, and saving a young child’s like, too, I suppose.
See you then!
I don’t know what “Gothtopia” is. I’m going to figure it out by the end of this review, but for now, dear readers, realize that I’m going into this issue with zero idea of what in the world is going on in here. As always, I review the comic as I read through it on the first time, then summarize shit once I’ve taken a sec to gather my thoughts and form my oh, so many opinions.
Let’s explore my ignorance together, shall we? Let’s begin.
The comic opens with Babs narrating the morning routine of Angela Ramirez, a woman with family and a good job, managing the Joker Brand Ice Cream Company.
Apparently, Gotham City is the safest, the nicest, the friendliest city in ‘Murica, and even the weather is a balmy 90 degrees and sunny in February! Everyone is happy in Gotham. Everyone smiles. But Ms. Ramirez has started having nightmares. And she’s not smiling any more.
Cut to the Gordon household, where a cheerful Barbara wakes to her dad making breakfast, and the promise of bacon as she scrambles for clean pants.
She muses on the love she has for her family. Her mother is still around. Her dad is carefree. Her brother, James Jr., is a volunteer at a soup kitchen. And her cat is fat as fuck. There’s your first, second, and third warning bells right there.
And in this perfect, crime-free Gotham? She’s still Batgirl for some reason.
…Okay. I’mma wait.
And her partner is crime-stopping is… Charise Carnes. Fucking Knightfall. But here, she’s “Daybreak.”
Back at the Ice Cream factory, Ms. Ramirez tells
Steve Urkel an underling named Leo that she’s started scheduling surprise inspections of the flavouring vats. Anybody else’s ears perk up at the mention of “vats” at the “Joker” Ice Cream factory?
On the roof above the ice cream truck, Babs, who has only been referred to so far as “Bluebell” (and isn’t that an ice cream brand itself and WHY is there still a bat on her chest, then?) refuses to buy ice cream. This appears to be due to the fear of clowns. HA!
Right after that little meeting, a bus full of children from Gotham Elementary (How can there be only the one elementary school?!) arrives, making me really nervous all of a sudden.
And then this happens.
The trucks can’t be called back because all of the radios are down. Somehow, even the cellular phones aren’t working. So, Barbara tells Daybreak to “make the call” and steals one of the poisoned people’s motorcycles, tailing an ice cream truck that’s just made its way into a public park. She slaps a dude’s ice cream out of his hand, and he, naturally, takes a swing at her head.
Urkell is telling Ramirez about the poisoned ice cream, saying that they can’t give any of it to the kids, of course. Ramirez responds by donning a clown mask, hoisting a pistol, and assuring him that nothing bad could ever happen in Gotham.
Naturally, she shoots Steve Urkell (Did I do that?). However, she promptly reassures the children, saying that they’ll be together forever, unlike the little girl she once had, and unlike her former husband. She tells them to call her Mother Mercy.
Awesome. That’s not creepy at all.
Babs and Charise arrive on the scene and the GCPD is there ahead of her. Detective McKenna wants her to go in on the DL and take the aggressor out, but Detective Bullock is also there, belittling her and saying that Mayor Cobblepot has given the order to use a sniper on the way.
Inside, Ramirez is traumatizing the children further by telling them her very tragic story wherein she was called in by the police to identify the smiling corpses of her husband and daughter. Despite their deaths, she says she was still happy, still smiling, just like all of Gotham. She questions this fact. She says that she wants to forget, but she can’t with the city plastered with the smiling Joker face logo. So, she’s gonna go all Heaven’s Gate on these kids and she and the kids will all eat ice cream and stay together, smiling forever.
Outside, Daybreak offers Babs a distraction in the form of blowing up Bullock’s car.
The sniper is still on the roof. It’s not much of a distraction as Barbara sails over ALL of the police, who are all looking directly at her, some even pointing in case you inexplicably missed her.
Right before Ramirez forces the first kid to eat, Barbara bursts in, elbowing this woman who put so much thought into her plan but apparently never learned how to use that fucking gun in the FACE.
The “very bad day” making her a raving, mass-murdering psychopath reminds me of “The Killing Joke.”
…And then it reminds Barbara, too. And Ramirez sees that she’s not the only person who remembers another life, another truth.
While the Barbara has a mini panic attack, the sniper makes his move. Ramirez is struck in the solar plexus, not the heart or the head so this sniper should be FIRED, but it gives her enough time to give us some last words about her family and some other such bullshit… Trying to make me feel feelings, DC?!?!?! Better publishers than you have tried.
Barbara clings to the fact that the kids are safe. She wants to forget this day. She plans to. She even says, that if this is her waking up…
How very un-Barbara-like. To dismiss reality. To delude herself.
So, as if we didn’t know that it would be already, this “Gothtopia” is a problem. And, as I mentioned “Emperor Joker” earlier and DC is really out of ideas, I’m willing to wager that the whole thing is some kind of illusion-y thing. The Joker is probably behind it all, but that might be a red herring because DC likes to pretend that they’re clever. And while I do like Gail Simone on Batgirl (and I liked her Wonder Woman run, too, but that’s a whole other story), I also read “Leaving Megalopolis,” her recent independently published trade, and it fell really flat. So… Obviously, I’m going to give it a try. I’ll try to pick up the Detective Comics and other Bat-books tie-ins (DAMMIT.) and I’ll summarize shit you the rest of you nerds.
The issue, overall, was entertaining. But one thing is still bothering me, and is completely unconscionable even before the rest of the story unfolds…
See you next time, kids! And remember: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!
This issue wraps up the “Batgirl: Wanted” arc. Going in, I was anxious, hoping that Commissioner Gordon would finally find out his daughter’s secret. The mixture of emotions should be powerful, between pride and anger and confusion and sorrow, since his daughter was a hero to all of Gotham… At least until she seemingly killed James Gordon Jr. Of course, in comics, we know that a body unrecovered is a character still alive, but I digress…
The minions of
Bitchface McGee Knightfall are still mid-murder of Commissioner Gordon. They’ve got Meta-Humans in their ranks and Grotesque has a pair of bolt cutters hovering around Jim’s pinky finger. But just as they’re about to start a-choppin’, Batgirl bursts through the front window on her motor cycle.
Babs crashes her bike into Bonebreaker, chucks some Batarangs at Gretel, and makes to escape with the Commish, when this Mirror shows up, claiming that they’re “on the list” because they’ve “both cheated death.” Whatevs. Batgirl chucks another Batarang at his face (because she didn’t learn a lesson the last time she threw a Batarang at some bitch), knocking him off kilter and giving her and Gordon Sr. the time they need to literally trap themselves in the fucking basement. While they, argue, though, Bonebreaker calls Knightfall to tattle on Batgirl…
This is actually a pretty good idea. Too bad it doesn’t seem likely to happen, especially as Knightfall tells the terrifyingly named “Michael” to burn the whole house down with everyone (EVERYONE) inside if her thugs screw up the hit. Waiting in the lamest ambush ever, at the top of the stairs to the basement, Bonebreaker and the others try to coax Batgirl out of hiding, promising not to fight and to give her hugs and candies and a nice cup of hot cocoa, maybe a blanket while they just go on ahead and murder her father. She, of course, is not terribly fond of this idea.
Batgirl is able to fight off the Knightfall minions by using their numbers and strength against them by fighting them in a tiny little hallway which didn’t look all that tiny when she and her dad walked through it a few pages earlier. Downstairs, the Commissioner takes out Michael as he tries to sneak in (BY TALKING LOUDLY ON HIS CELL PHONE) and start burning shit up.
Gordon passes up his gun in favour of activating an adorable little small scale Bat Signal. Seeing that half of their crew is no loonger in fighting shape, plus given that Gotham PD and the Bat Family are all likely on their way, Bonebreaker and Company sluggishly pick themselves up and head out through that gaping hole that Babs put in the house, and… Batgirl just lets them go. Like, seriously, she actually just lets them walk away.
It is at this point, after the imminent threat has past, Jim Gordon pulls out his service pistol and points it at the back of her head. She challenges him as a police officer, saying that she acted the only way that she could, and he admits that he knew what kind of actual fucking psycho
And here comes the moment that I’ve been waiting for– !
Mother. FUCKER. She resigns herself to revealing her secret and he LOOKS AWAY. Not even catching shit in his peripherals. I mean, should I really be surprised? He hasn’t been able to identify his own daughter for years despite the fact that most of her face is actually visible, her distinguishing and highly recessive trait red hair has been showing for all of this time, and, y’know, he has actually met his daughter before… But I was really hoping that this was going to be the moment. An arc that spanned several issues, culminating in very little, especially as Ricky even survives his ordeal and wakes back up by the end of this issue.
Of course, none of this is the big reveal of this issue…
BIG FUCKING SURPRISE. Did I call it? Because, yes, I called the fuck out of it. In fact, the panel is so understated and the moment so fleeting, I’d think that writer Gail Simone just fucking expected us all to come to this conclusion readily.
Yes, James Gordon Jr. is back to be a psychopathic murderer another day, this time with an eyepatch! THIS is most likely why Jim Sr. couldn’t find out about his daughter’s secret identity right now; they’ve got to have more family drama to play up when James Jr. comes back into the light and they realize that he’s alive… Likely after he manipulates a bunch of crap in the shadows to ruin Jim Sr. and Barbara’s lives as much as possible in the meantime.
Next issue ties into “Gothtopia” and what the fuck is that?! Find out with us when I review Batgirl #27 in a month!
Thanks for reading!