Batgirl #18 – Hope Larson, Writer; Sami Basri, Artist; Jessica Kholinne, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: A done-in-one holiday issue teams Barbara with some of her best friends against Harley Quinn, in a story with lots of current events commentary but also some sketchy characterization. After an amusing opening segment in which Barbara goes up against a villain called “The Wrapper” who attacks people with wrapping paper, she heads to a holiday party for her company, where she meets up with Alysia and Frankie. However, the party’s been double-booked with another tech company, one run by a homophobic sexual harasser that instantly disgusts Barbara and her friends. And they’re not the only ones – Harley attacks the party, and proceeds to dose everyone there with a fatal virus that will kill them in twenty-four hours. This is…not something Harley would do, at least not lately. Not necessarily the creep, but to dose dozens of innocent people in the process?
However, she’s set up a scavenger hunt to get the anecdote, which means that Batgirl and her friends are going to have to run all around Gotham to try to help Bradley Burr rediscover what Christmas actually means to him. This is obviously a take on A Christmas Carol, where the cruel scrooge-type has to discover what’s really important. However, Burr isn’t much of a character – he doesn’t have any tragic backstory, or goodness buried deep inside. Every stop along the way is just an excuse for Bradley to be horrible and Batgirl to berate him. There are a few funny moments, including involving a camel. Ultimately, they succeed, Burr gets what he has coming to him as his company collapses, and Barbara gets to enjoy her holiday. But the whole “Oh, you scamp” approach to Harley continues to rankle. She tried to commit mass murder if they couldn’t figure out her mystery. Ultimately, the issue just falls sort of flat.
Corrina: This is more of a Harley-style tale than a Batgirl story. She seems to be one of the headliners for DC lately with her own book, her continued presence in Suicide Squad, and guest-starring in the recent Batgirl & the Birds of Prey arc too. It does also read more like a Harley/Batgirl-centric episode of Batman: The Animated Series. That’s a good thing and if you take this as a story separate from the rest of the current DC Universe, it works, and there’s the added bonus of Frankie and Alysia as guest-stars.
Unfortunately, as Ray says, one issue is too little space to make the evil businessman anything but a two-dimensional villain, which makes his trip down memory lane less interesting than it should be.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.