Review – Batgirl #29: Showdown at the Museum

Comic Books DC This Week
Batgirl #29 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batgirl #29 – Mairghread Scott, Writer; Paul Pelletier, Penciller; Norm Rapmund, Inker; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist


Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Classic Batgirl With a Twist

Ray: The big strength of Mairghread Scott’s Batgirl run so far has been in its characterization, particularly in the interaction between Barbara and her father. That strength is still present in Batgirl #29, but it’s somewhat buried in a high-octane action plotline. What’s very odd about this title is the way it’s essentially picked up another book’s storyline – the mystery of the supervillain Wyrm that began in Ben Percy’s Nightwing and was wholesale dropped when Dick took a bullet to the head. Now Wyrm and his minion Grotesque have come to Gotham, and Barbara is hot on the tail of Grotesque’s secret identity, Detective Evan Douglas. That mission has taken Barbara to the Gotham Art Museum, where a massive police benefit is gathering the city’s officers just in time for Grotesque to blow the whole place up. Although Barbara’s implant is causing her more and more trouble, she still suits up and infiltrates the doomed gathering.

The stakes are high, with both Barbara and her father in the building as the clock ticks down. But maybe too much of the issue deals with Wyrm’s minions, the shapeless techno-zombies known as Terminals. These hulking threats didn’t really excite me in Percy’s issues where they appeared either.

Fortunately, Scott does keep the comic nicely grounded in Barbara’s inner voice. As she struggles to keep her focus as her body’s technology turns against her, she calls back to her father’s motivation to turn the tide. I’m not sure Evan Douglas ever turned into a fully compelling adversary – his motivation mainly seems to be envy and a growing internet addiction. But the issue builds to a compelling finish, and the epilogue sets up several things. First up, Barbara’s going under the knife and we’ll see next issue if there’s any fallout – and just after she heads into surgery, Commissioner Gordon is approached by the FBI. Overall, this first arc continued the title’s strong streak of post-Flashpoint long-term creative teams.

Batgirl undercover. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: This is truly a classic Barbara Gordon/Batgirl plot, the one where Babs has to rescue her father and stop the villain, all without revealing her identity.

But with a twist, because, no matter the outcome of the struggle, Babs knows she’s risking her mobility and, perhaps, her life. (Well, she always risked her life but it was about fighting the villains, not about her previous injuries.) That adds stakes to the fight scenes with the basically faceless minions because not only are we worried about whether she’ll win, we worry if her body will hold up long enough for her to wn.

But (and there are flashes of Oracle here), Babs essentially thinks her way out of the situation, not only uncovering the bomb but also using her knowledge of cops and how they think to help Det. Douglas come back to himself. I rather like that the whole “police are after Batgirl” lasted only an issue or two because there’s only so much you can do with that.

But there is much that can be done with Jim and Babs finally being honest emotionally with each other about their fears. Aw, I wanted to hug both of them. Pellitier puts some terrific emotion in that sequence.

This run has offered so much great characterization that I won’t even wonder too much about how Douglas managed to implant all those devices that turned cops into exoskeleton minions. (And, presumably, back again.)

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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