Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #19 – Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, Writers; Roge Antonio, Artist; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: Don’t Buy It
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #19 IS like a roller-coaster ride, except that it was only one hill, and then a long way down. First, the good news – the opening eight pages of this issue are among the best this series has had over the entire run. It’s almost entirely Batgirl-centric, as she uses a new technique she’s developed – hacking Calculator’s system and getting intel on criminals who want to meet with him, then taking them out with her team – to get a leg up on crime. In between working on cases, she’s helping her father with computer problems and debating revealing her secret identity to him, and helping Poison Ivy turn over a new leaf (pun intended) by giving her a job at Gordon Clean Energy, where she can save the world and surround herself with man-eating plants. It’s interesting, and unlike a lot of this run, it’s fun. It’s also not to last.
Because on page nine, the team comes under attack by a killer robot called Burnrate, who seems like a refugee from a Terminator movie. He strafes the field with bullets, and after yelling out that he’s after Oracle and being fought off, he tracks down Gus Yale and attacks him to get Oracle’s identity. At first, after Gus got kneecapped, I was rolling my eyes and going “Great, so they’re giving him a disability so he’ll fit more as Oracle”, but no. He just dies, and in the process tears the team apart. It seems that Canary and Huntress view Batgirl’s use of hacking to get the drop on villains as some sort of unforgivable betrayal. I can sort of see some anger from Black Canary, who’s much more by-the–book, but Huntress? Not only is she prone to killing, but she’s a former expert spy who would probably think this is some sort of genius idea. Overall, this issue seems to set up a final showdown with Calculator, but it mainly blows up the segment where the book was at its best.
Corrina: I have disliked the character of Gus from the beginning because he’s been so poorly developed, because it strained reader credulity that the Birds would simply trust him, and because, when his backstory was revealed, it should have been interesting and instead was simply plopped into the story with little setup.
But killing him does not make any of that better.
It only points out how poorly developed he was because his death elicited a shrug on my part. I’m not emotionally invested in the death, so watching the Birds argue over him seems strange to me. But, more, why would Canary be upset at Batgirl’s hacking into things? She’s never said a word before. That is typical of my issues with this creative team–big, huge plot elements are dropped into the story with no setup, and thus the reactions to them, as Canary’s reaction to the hacking, make no sense.
And, as Ray points out, Huntress should not even blink an eye at this stuff.
But, yes, the first part of the issue was nice.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes