Batgirl #30 – Mairghread Scott, Writer; Paul Pelletier, Penciller; Norm Rapmund, Inker; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: As her second arc kicks off in Batgirl #30, Mairghread Scott wastes no time dispensing with the last cliffhanger – Barbara Gordon’s surgery went fine, her new implant is functioning, and after some downtime, she’s back in action as Batgirl. The opening segment focuses on her taking her first leap off a rooftop, and it does a good job of showing her inner hesitations before she takes that leap. But in the time since we last saw her, a lot more has changed – the GCPD is mired in a corruption scandal after Grotesque and Wyrm infiltrated then the last arc, and an upstart politician named Luciana Alejo has taken advantage to launch a campaign based around reforming the police. Things get hairy soon at one of her rallies, with Jim Gordon trying to keep the peace between her supporters and counter-protestors – which goes south when a group of agent provocateurs including former Commissioner Jason Bard cause a disturbance and impersonate radical supporters of hers.
The presence of Bard – an oily wild card with about ten different plans every time he shows up – is intriguing, as I can safely say I never expected to see that plot thread from Batman: Eternal show up again. The issue is obviously very rooted in modern issues including the role of Antifa in protest movements, and there’s a clever twist about Bard towards the end of the issue – how many layers does this guy’s plot go down? I’m a little less enthusiastic about how Gordon is portrayed here – he seems to be a stridently anti-reform guy who sees Alejo as a threat, and some of his lines remind me more of Bullock than Gordon. His argument with Babs also feels like a flawed attempt to cause drama and rushes Barbara into volunteering for Alejo. There’s a lot of interesting ideas in this first issue, and Batgirl as a title has surprisingly been involved in a lot of political storylines in recent years. Scott’s run continues to be off to a strong start.
Corrina: As a long-time Bat-reader, I sometimes have problems separating a character’s long-time characterization with their more recent ones. It took me a bit to remember that Jason Bard is the corrupt ex-commissioner from Batman: Eternal and not the cynical war veteran/private eye who’s generally a reliable ally. (And was also once engaged to Babs but that was a looong time ago.)
So, once I got past that, I was able to enjoy the issue, which does a fine job of tying in the personal plot of Babs and Jim trying to adjust to living with each other again with the political story. Two stubborn people who love each other are still two stubborn people who often push each other to extremes. That’s what I think we’re seeing here in Jim going overboard defending the GCPD and then Babs volunteering for someone who seemingly wants to tear them down. Neither position is that simple and both know it. Gordon, of course, knows that he has a problem with corruption in the department. But it’s hard to change the culture when the only thing you can offer is an excellent chance of encountering a super-villain and low-pay. (I can’t imagine being a cop in the GCPD pays much, unless they’re on the take.) I kinda love that this arc is going there and I’d love to see it play out as to how Gordon changes the policing style–if he does–to help Gotham’s citizens and put his department right.
And I also love Babs being politically involved again, too. Because she’s going to hold her candidates to super-high standards. (And a little part of me might just love Congresswoman Gordon again…)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.