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By Ginger De Los Rios

Batgirl issue #7 throws us straight into the action. Batgirl is nearly drowned by a masked man in a tux in the Gotham sewers. Two other bodies in suits and masks lay strewn off to the side. All Batgirl can think is that she’s glad she’s drowning in rainwater and not what really flows through a sewer. Yuck. Her captor is intrigued with her, especially when she manages to use a taser on him and removes his mask. But we don’t see his face yet. He’s a formidable foe that takes his cues from Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera.

 

The story segues into a flashback 2 hours earlier. Enter Dinah Lance, aka Black Canary! Batgirl wakes her up in the middle of the night to spar in her dojo across town. Barbara Gordon still suffers the crushing pains of Post Traumatic Stress. I like Dinah, she proves to be a mentor and big sister figure to Barbara. She also literally slaps sense into her and tells her to stop feeling sorry for herself. Barbara has the chances of a lifetime, her mother is back and she regained her ability to walk. Seriously, how many people get those opportunities handed to them? Dinah offers her a challenge, to find a “snobby little creep” called Grotesque.

 

The side plot involves Commissioner Gordon. He’s shocked when his wife, also named Barbara, comes into his office. Barbara Jr. explained to Dinah that he never stopped loving her and it’s obvious by the way he fumbles and stumbles in her presence. Talk about a family of red heads! It irks me how Barbara Sr. just strolls on in as if it’s perfectly normal to abandon your family with a lousy note and stay out of contact for 9 years. James admits he traced her. She admits that she left because of their son, James, Jr. And…??????

Mom’s storyline so far unravels as slow as molasses in pure Soap Opera style…the camera pans to James Gordon’s wide-eyed face, “Barbara!” Cut to his estranged wife – la di da di, “You look good James, very good.” and so we have to wait till next time to see what all the fuss is about. Hopefully it’s a good one.

Batgirl follows Dinah’s intel to the swanky Cartier One club, where a movie mogul named Theodore Aiklin is celebrating his birthday. Grotesque (The masked man from the outset of the issue) storms the party and demands the last known bottle of ‘Chateu Latisse’ wine, a rare vintage from 1846 and worth a half million dollars. Theodore foolishly refuses and gets murdered for it.

 

Batgirl was already hiding in the wings while this exchange happened. I still think she has a lot to learn. Batman’s batarang would have flown out before Grotesque had a chance to whack that man’s head. So now there’s more blood on her hands. She jumps in and fights his thugs and Grotesque makes his grand escape. He has the power to absorb electricity into his staff and bursts open a wall. Batgirl follows him to the sewers which leads back to page 1. She gets a major shock when she sees the face of one of Grotesque’s henchmen. He was with the joker on the day she was shot and crippled twenty…err…three years earlier!

This issue was good, the art is consistent from previous issues and shiny. I like shiny. It brings out all the vivid colors, specifically the yellow and purples on Batgirl’s costume and her red hair. The cover art is misleading, but what else is new. It makes you think Batgirl is trapped under a huge whirlpool in the ocean or something. Not at all. The story is a little talky, but Batgirl needed a crime-fighting break and the slap from Black Canary. And we are introduced to an interesting villain who has developed a serious crush on Batgirl. He considers her a “lovely vintage.”

 Overall Grade:: 7.5/10.

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