Review – Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #17: #NotAllMen

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey 17
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #17 variant cover, image via DC Comics

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #17 – Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, Writers; Roge Antonio, Artist; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 4/10

Corrina: Can’t Buy the Story

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!

Ray: Earlier this year, there was an issue of Captain America: Sam Wilson that pitted the title character against, essentially, an army of “SJWs” – college students who were out to kill anyone who had an opinion they disagreed with and used terms like “Triggered” and “I can’t even” while committing terror attacks. It was widely panned, and seen as an attempt by the writer to comment on critics of the “Hydra Cap” plotline.

Long story short, this issue isn’t that bad, but it falls into the same general category of trying to comment on modern political issues by turning one side into a supervillain caricature. Last issue revealed that the mysterious virus plaguing Gotham and targeting only men was engineered by a terrorist group called the Daughters of Gotham, aiming to wipe out men at the behest of an ancient terrorist crone named Patient Zero.

Flashbacks show she’s been around since the Spanish Flu and is immune to all disease. She was experimented on by her sinister father, and that was the root of her hatred for men. While she plays the evil straw woman, the other heroes get to sound sensible and talk about coexistence. There’s a lot of cameos, almost too many – characters often have to stand around explaining their role in things, because so many are appearing in this title for the first time. Leslie Thompkins appears again, now appearing to be a fairly young doctor working for Wayne Industries instead of the grandmotherly figure who was Bruce’s foster mother briefly. Another relic of the New 52. The action is decent, but the problem is, this entire arc has centered around a strawman caricature of a movement that barely even exists – “kill all men” trolls on Twitter do not need an answer. Political comics aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but they are when they devolve into this.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #17, page 1
She’s monologing! image via DC Comics

Corrina: Aside from all that Ray said about how this comic comes off as a “notallmen” comic somehow puts wronged women into the position of the evilest villains, the story has received some harsh criticism for not taking the transgender community into consideration with it’s “the virus targets only men.” Transwomen, for instance, may have been hit hard by the virus too but that was not even mentioned in the earlier issue. There is finally a line at the end of this issue where Batwoman says that the Daughters of Gotham didn’t take the transwomen into account. That’s good but it strikes me as something that was added at the lasat minute in response to the critics, rather than a true acknowledgment that the transgender community wasn’t considered at all when writing this story.

On the story itself, basically, our heroes are fighting women who are parodies of “militant women.” There’s no nuance to the Daughters of Gotham, no regret, nothing to make them interesting and so it comes across as a political polemic that, hey, #notallmen are bad. Well, okay then, I didn’t need an entire story arc to know that. :sigh:

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

 

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