Batgirl taking a turn for the pugnacious. Intriguing.
Then I saw Grotesque. Nope, Batgirl is scared and hurting.
How did I miss the horned party man and his cattle prod? I blame an agitated mental state brought on by the Angry Birds.
When I sat down to read and write, I was just home from chaperoning 6 first-graders on a 2-hour field trip. My group, the self-named “Angry Birds,” performed beautifully for 30 minutes. Unfortunately for all of us, 2 hours = 120 minutes.
INSIDE STORY: Holy Conflicted, Batgirl. (How have I resisted that phrase for so long?)
Batgirl catches two of Grotesque’s sidekicks, accomplices in the murder she just witnessed, but then lets sidekick Danny go. Danny, she recognizes. He was with the Joker the night the Joker shot and paralyzed her, a giant hahahahahahahaFU to her dad Commissioner Gordon.
Bargirl lets Danny go so she can track him down later and, presumably, chat about old times. I say presumably because when she shows up at his apartment, Grotesque awaits. Batgirl takes him down, but not before he delivers Danny a deathly gunshot. As Danny lays dying, he admits he called the police after the Joker shot Barbara. He saved her life.
But she can’t save his, and he permanently conks out after confessing.
On the familial front, Barbara seeks out her mother Barbara and confronts her about deserting the Gordon family way back when.
Stop & Simplify: Remember the Gordons? Parents Barbara Gordon and James Gordon and their kids Barbara Gordon and James Gordon? From this point forward, we’ll call them Mom Gordon, Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl Barbara, and James Jr.
Back to our regularly scheduled summary.
Mom Gordon explains that James Jr. brutally murdered a cat, told Mom Gordon it was her fault, and said he’d do the same to Batgirl Barbara unless Mom Gordon left town.
Turns out James Jr. is a sociopath. Fortunately for Gothamites, he’s locked down in Arkham Asylum.
Fortunately for us, he’s NOT. He shows up at the end, stalking Batgirl Barbara’s kind roommate Alysia.
Crazy batshit’s about to hit the fan.
RAMBLE: I’m starting to anticipate specific aspects of my comics as their assigned Wednesdays approach. I look forward to the next expansion of Wonder Woman’s mythology and to Batwoman’s art (this week’s cover is gorgeous). With Batgirl, it’s the writing. Again and again and again, and I comment on it all the time. So I won’t say more. Except Gail Simone’s got a gift.
Barbara’s in a weird place right now. She’s put justice aside in the name of addressing her inner turmoil, which on brightly colored, semi-glossy, extra-thin comic book paper at first seems a bad idea. But a healthy inner Barbara might make for a stronger outer Batgirl.
Also, in allowing Danny to escape, she is, in a sense, offering him forgiveness. Even if it’s only to further her own psychological interests (i.e. gathering facts about her shooting).
I love the crazy James Jr. storyline, too. Are Commissioner Gordon and Batgirl trying to make amends for the family sociopath? Are they trying to forget the family sociopath by immersing themselves in a singular near-obsessive pursuit of justice? Finally, why is it a thing that sociopaths wear glasses? She asks, as she adjusts her glasses.
WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE?
Alysia: Barbara Gordon’s roommate
Barbara Gordon: Batgirl.
Barbara Gordon: Batgirl’s mother. She deserted her husband, daughter, and son when Barbara was still young.
Batgirl: Former Batman trainee, along with Robin (now Nightwing). Shot by the Joker and left paralyzed. Regained use of legs after radical neural surgery. Now struggling to return to her former powerful self. Self-deprecating, clever.
Commissioner James Gordon: Barbara’s father
Dinah: aka Black Canary, superhero and friend of Batgirl, new in issue 7
Grotesque: tux-wearing, max-wearing, shoeless bad guy; new in issue 7
James Jr.: Barbara’s brother, a sociopath. She believes he’s locked up in Arkham Asylum, but he shows up in issue 8.
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
New villain Grotesque showed up at a high-society party in issue 7 and shot the 60-year-old gazillionaire birthday boy. He fled the party with Batgirl in hot, if ultimately futile, pursuit.