Batgirl #21 – Hope Larson, Writer; Scott Godlewski, Artist; John Rauch, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Babs and Jim Gordon Working Together–LOVE
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Batgirl takes the issue off from its overarching story to do a done-in-one team-up issue that’s probably one of the most enjoyable issues of the series. Part creature feature, part mystery, part father-daughter adventure, it’s very much in the spirit of the Batgirl of Burnside run, and kicks off when a young woman in Burnside has her skin care routine interrupted by a mysterious purple monster, and her boyfriend runs in to find her disappeared. Batgirl is able to help him get cleared of police suspicion, and then finds a link to a Burnside medical supply company. She goes to investigate, and is started by Jim Gordon, who is also looking into the same case. I still find it a bit suspicious that Jim doesn’t know that Barbara is Batgirl – he’s a good detective! – but that makes these team-ups a lot of fun, as Barbara has to balance both roles while also solving the mystery of the increasingly common disappearances.
Like most of Larson’s issues of Batgirl, this comic has more things on its mind than just superheroes. The source of the monster this issue isn’t a supervillain or mad scientist, but rather corporate corruption, as a shady company rebranded itself, moved cities, and kept on creating toxic substances while portraying itself as an eco-friendly company for hipsters. And their toxic slurry has evolved into a sentient monster that resembles Parasite – and is attracted to anyone who uses the compound that it’s made out of. The monster battle is really well-done, as drawn by Scott Godlewski – who has a great handle on drawing monsters, as we see in his Image book Copperhead – but the real strength of Batgirl #21 is the banter between Barbara and Jim. They have a great dynamic, and even though this is very much the Burnside version of Batgirl and may not be to everyone’s tastes, that’s something that’s persisted in all versions of the characters.
Corrina: You know how you have certain things as a reader that, if they happen in a comic, you’re destined to love them anyway? Ray loves anything with the Bruce/Alfred relationship or, well, he just loves Alfred. (Who doesn’t?)
For me, it’s basically anything well-written with Jim Gordon. Extra special bonus if it’s about Jim and Barbara Gordon. A serious cherry on top if they’re working together and not opposing each other.
Basically, this story is the equivalent of a jackpot for me.
I’d love it just for the subject matter but, hey, it’s also a fun story of detective crime-solving between father and daughter, with the hint at the end that Jim recognizes his daughter under the cape and cowl. (Just a note to non-parents who think parents can be fooled by the whole mask disguise thing? Um, no. I’d recognize my kids from their voices, inflection and the way they moved, even if they had a bag over their head.)
But you should go buy this. It’s fun and sweet and it has great action scenes. (But the monster is really squicky….)
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this copy for review purposes.