I don't know who's more terrifying. Shauna who looks like she just crawled out of the well from Ringu or Ferdie the well-dressed living gay puppet.
What I'm trying to say is, Shauna is scarier than Ferdie. I actually think I could become good friends with Ferdie if he'd just lose the drills in the hands.
This cover makes me realize something I didn't know was going on in Batgirl up until this point. I know all of Batgirl's enemies after The Mirror have been women and, technically, the Mirror can be thought of as female as well since he was reflecting Barbara back at herself. And like The Mirror, every villain has mirrored some aspect of Barbara's personality so we can see how Barbara dealt with it and learned from it and how easily the same thing can break someone under different circumstances. None of that is what I realized! What I realized was how important it was to have Batgirl's villains be female for one simple reason: it removed the whole idea of sexual assault from the picture. It's something I didn't even really realize was there until this cover; the fact that if Batman were on this cover (minus maybe Ferdie's little heart on the cheek and how obvious it is that Ferdie is gay), nobody would think a sexual crime might be committed. Nobody reads a comic book and worries that any harm other than direct physical damage will come to Batman or Superman or The Flash. Maybe Aquaman but the sea is a weird place. But if you throw some large muscular asshole at Batgirl on the cover, sexual assault is an easily read uncomfortable undercurrent of the situation.
I'm not throwing anything new out there about how different threats can be seen based on the genders of the heroes and villains. What I wanted to say was how fucking smart it has been of Gail Simone to have Batgirl's antagonists all be female for that specific reason. It's easy to just read the comic and think, "Oh, of course she's just going to fight female villains because she's a female!" But to never have to deal with even the stray thought that Batgirl could be sexually assaulted forces the reader to concentrate on the story sans gender roles.
Of course now Simone has introduced a randy little murder puppet, so that's pretty fucking awesome all in itself.
The first page of this issue shows Nightwing
When did Dick become the glue holding the Bat Family together? It still boggles my mind that Dick Grayson has become one of my favorite characters in the DC Universe.
Alysia has potato chip pajamas! Or maybe she's just a messy eater? Or maybe Vengeance Moth got a hold of them. Oh! Maybe that's Vengeance Moth's power! She destroys clothing!
I want to learn all about how Ferdie came to be. Am I going to have to wait until the Villain Month in September to find out how he became independent? And who installed the drills in his palms? I have a feeling that wasn't a built in feature. I'd love to know Ferdie's origin but I suppose in the end it doesn't matter. Does Talking Tina ever really have a reason for being a vessel of pure vengeance and hatred? How about Willie or Caeser, the dummies from the other Twilight Zone episodes? I always figured Caeser was Willie later in his career and think of "Caeser and Me" as the sequel to "The Dummy."
The other thing I'm curious about is this: Does Shauna own any other clothes?
Hacking for great justice, Batgirl discovers Shauna's address through the DMV's files and arrives to investigate.
Okay, I'm going to let Batgirl slide on this first one because she hasn't seen as much of The Ventriloquist as the readers have. But if she gets fooled by the throwing the voice trick a second time, well, fool her once won't get fooled again South Africa and such create education better!
Batgirl considers how the doll is acting the way it is and she thinks, "Telekinesis?" Oh yeah! I forgot that Shauna showed signs of that power. Well fuck! That explains how she controls the doll. I was hoping for a more Japanese Horror Movie reason! Well, I can still hope to get one! Just knowing TK is a possibility doesn't make it the way things are. And even if that ends up as the answer, I can believe my own version just like I'm happy to believe that Harvest is actually Vampire Tim Drake from the Future, just like every single clue points to! Even the fact that Tom DeFalco and Scott Lobdell wrote vastly different origins for Harvest makes my version possible!
But the next couple of pages make the Telekinesis Theory look rock solid as Batgirl is attacked by Shauna's long dead parents. Batgirl remurders them and they collapse. Perhaps the shock of seeing her father decapitated caused Shauna to falter in her power. The whole ordeal causes Batgirl to throw up. So now when she fights, she's going to be distracted by stray pieces of half-digested food stuck in her sinuses.
Throughout the battle, Shauna's parents are raving about her daughter and her potential for fame.
My favorite scene.
Batgirl puts the little monster down with a concussive batarang, blowing him into something that now looks more like Scarface than Ferdie. I wonder if they know each other? And then she knocks out Shauna in one punch because Shauna lost her shit when her little lover was blown to pieces. Batgirl saved Xavia and is finally beginning to feel a bit better. She'd feel a whole lot better if she wasn't so worried about that bastard brother that isn't even dead anyway.
Later at home, feeling a bit depressed about her situation with her parents although it's slightly better than Shauna's situation with her parents, Babs makes cookies for her and Alysia (and Alaska too! He's so fucking fat! Awwwww!). And then the most horrible part of the night takes place.
Wait a second. Forget Ricky and the forgotten date. What the fuck is that a picture of beside the door? Four shadowy figures riding down a canyon? Is it a hint about Alysia's past life?! I really hope she was a cowboy!