Friday, April 20, 2012

Batgirl #7

Is this issue about Batgirl's body image?

Batgirl is being drowned in a Gotham Sewer by a guy in a demon mask. He's extra strong like all of the people she has to fight so she can't free herself from his grip. But she's clever, she declares, as she pulls her Batgrapple from her utility belt and shoots him in the face with it.

Yeah, real clever. That's why you have a batbelt full of gadgets! So you don't have to rely on your itty bitty girl strength! I mean your itty bitty non-super powered normal person's strength. So clever that you almost died struggling with him before finally pulling something out of your batbelt!

I actually like this scene. Except for the narration boxes. This is where they really ruin the mood. Instead of this Narration Box...

...just have Batgirl thinking the thought she's thinking about whether or not it's good that she's thinking it! Instead she's being killed and her thought boxes are philosophical, nostalgic, and rambling. They should be panicked or at least focused on saving her ass! The casual thoughts and comments of super heroes in a fight are fine most of the time. But when you're about to suck in a lungful of sewage, maybe you shouldn't be so carefree and lackadaisical!

Or don't have boxes or bubbles at all. Show her face as she struggles underwater, as she comes closer and closer to that inevitable attempt to draw another breath while still underwater. I don't know. This scene almost works for me. But then when she declares she's Barbara-freaking-Gordon and that she's clever, it just falls apart. Good for you! I wish she just would have thought, "I'm Batman!" and smashed the guy in the face with her batprojectile.

Batgirl knocks the demon mask off of her enemy's face and he covers it up and acts like a proper young lady.

I wish Batgirl were saying this.

Batgirl's foe runs away while Batgirl is clearing her head from the near dying. And I'm reading the comic thinking that it'll continue from here like a good story and things will play out as they play out and, well, I'm an idiot, actually. Because, once again, the scene changes and time is displaced. The next page begins, "Two hours ago." Fuck you.

Apparently I've lost my patience with this particular aspect of comic books. Right here in Batgirl #7, I was broken. I hate it. Stop doing it, comic book writers. Just stop. Or I'm going to start writing letters! Maybe I should follow all of the New 52 writers on Twitter and message them all of my concerns.

So, two hours ago, Batgirl was not drowning. She was climbing in the window of some sleeping woman's apartment. Hey! This might get interesting!

The sleeping woman is Dinah Lance. You know, nerds. Black Canary. Batgirl drags her out of bed so they can go do some late night sparring. I'm sure Black Canary doesn't have anything better to do. Oh well, Black Canary probably won't even remember sparring with Batgirl seeing that there is a rash of amnesia in the current Birds of Prey storyline.

They spar a bit, physically and verbally. Batgirl begins to whine about her mom being back in her life and having guilt from being able to walk again when others are still in their wheelchairs. But Black Canary slaps the fuck out of her and tells her to wake up. I like Dinah!

Hit her again!

We're on Issue #7 and Batgirl continues to feel a lack of confidence. I asked last time if this was going to be a constant theme or if we were going to eventually get past it. Well, I guess we're not quite past it just yet. Nightwing had to check in on her a few issues ago. Batgirl was upset that he thought she couldn't handle herself although she really has those doubts herself. Nightwing let her know he doesn't doubt her ability but he cares about her and just wants to make sure she's okay. Nightwing puts her in her place. Nicely. Lovingly. Then Batman tells her that she was always meant to be Batgirl when she's doubting whether she should really be out there on the streets of Gotham again. And she regains some confidence because Batman believes in her. And now she's feeling the trauma of what happened with the Joker shooting her and she's not quite sure she can get back to who she was or that she even deserves to be that person again. And Black Canary slaps her in the face and points out that Batgirl was never stronger than when she was in the wheelchair.

Barbara seems to take some of this to heart in a way she didn't with the gentle touch of Batman and Nightwing (well, her and Nightwing kicked each others' asses for awhile but that wasn't his fault). Black Canary pawns off a job to Barbara because the Birds of Prey really are kind of busy with The Vacuum or whatever the fuck his name was. Some guy named Grotesque is doing something vague and Batgirl can deal with it if she wants. Batgirl wants. She immediately goes off and almost drowns.

There's actually a whole scene where she crashes the party that Grotesque crashes and sees him kill a billionaire over a half million dollar bottle of wine but, really, let's just speed things up and get back to the "Now" caption, why don't we?

Grotesque has gotten away but his two thugs that were with him remain unconscious. Batgirl unmasks them and discovers that one of them is the thug that was with the Joker when she was shot!

Batgirl Issue #7 Rating: No change in the Ranking. If Black Canary had her own comic, I'd raise her comic's ranking by one for slapping Batgirl! Wait, she does have her own comic! This comic will get better once Batgirl has her confidence back. I get it. She's been through a major trauma (The Killing Joke). She's got survivor's guilt (The Mirror). She's got people in her life that care for her and have help shaped her to become the woman she is (Gretel). And now she's got to find something in herself to get The Real Batgirl back and stop wallowing in self-doubt and guilt and pity (Grotesque). Is Batgirl only going to fight Analogies and Metaphors?! I don't mind that aspect of the comic! But I am a bit tired of her feeling like a loser when she obviously isn't. She should take a look at Justice League International and what's going on over there! That'll make her count her blessings!

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