Batgirl, in uniform, sits in her wheelchair, a perfect visual expression of the devil’s chatter in her head: You’re not ready for battle. You might get shot again. Doing nothing is safe.
Turns out, she’s experiencing a recurring nightmare starring Batgirl-on-wheels, Barbara Gordon, and The Mirror.
The motif of superhero-as-loner, whose fight is mostly about good vs. evil but is also an escape from inner demons, gets full play in this holiday issue. Barbara bonds with roomate Alysia in front of the Christmas tree, but when life-story-swapping gets too painful, she flees the tree, dons the latex, and swings onto the mean streets of Gotham to work it all out, eventually meeting up with her nemesis Mirror at a crumbling amusement park.
My dad, to be referred to forthwith as Comic Book Dad, was a comic book reader back in the ‘40s. Since I started writing CBV, we have enjoyed wide-ranging discussions of the current iteration of some of his old favorites as well as conversations about the superheroines I follow.
I told him that, in some ways, Batgirl is the most traditional of my books. The Mirror springs from a comic villain textbook (which is one reason I love to hate him) and Gail Simone is, I presume, having fun placing a newly invented, 21st century Batgirl into some old familiar Bat-uations. Such as facing villains at run-down carnivals. Specifically, in the Hall of Mirrors. Get it? Mirror? Mirrors?
Also, because fighting glass villains in glass houses makes for awesome sound-effect words such as KKERRRAASSSH.
Ultimately, Batgirl has her day in the dark, smashing the Mirror and delivering a quick speech about how bad things happen to good people. Her speech (and Gail Simone’s writing) proves more eloquent than mine, so I’ll quote. Per usual, Batgirl talks not only to The Mirror, but to herself.
“Sometimes extraordinary things happen to the very worst people, and the best people suffer. And sometimes, people get their miracles whether they deserve them or not. Whether they deserve them. Or not. Believe me. I know.”
Having sufficiently exercised and exorcised, Batgirl allows herself a merry, quiet Christmas at home with her new BFF Alysia. Then the doorbell rings.
It’s Mrs. Garrett from Facts of Life!
She's ... Batgirl’s mother!