By: Ginger De Los Rios
In the last issue of Batgirl we were left with a cliffhanger in the Gotham sewers. Batgirl had just discovered that one of Grotesque’s henchmen were involved in the Joker’s crippling attack on her life. He is known as Danny ‘The Weasel’ Weaver. While Barbara flashes back and demands answers about the attack on Theodore Aiklin she makes a rookie mistake and has her back to the other guy…or so we think! The next page shows just how skilled she is when she flings her hand out, jabs him in the stomach and gives him a sharp right hook, only to catch him gently by the back of the head before he slams into the concrete.
I just have to compliment the beautiful watercolor backgrounds on each action-packed panel. It’s bold and feminine. I could imagine them on canvas, just simple blends of color. I’d hang it! Although you wonder what happened to the grungy gray sewer bricks in the preceding panels.
In a surprising move, Batgirl lets Danny escape before the cops show up. She then questions her actions – She watched Grotesque kill a man (Something I noted in my last review) and let another escape and her PTSD is kicking in again. At home Barbara caves in and opens the gift her mother left – It’s her grandmother’s necklace with her baby teeth marks on it. She decides to call her mother to talk.
Barbara demands to know why her mother left all those years ago without a reason. I can’t tell the difference between mother and daughter in these panels. The SFD (Same Face Disease) has struck again. While the art’s still bright and shiny, the characters look a little different from the past issues, softer, longer hair. Mrs. Gordon doesn’t appear to have aged a day.
The shocking reveal as to why she left has left me confounded. I’m going out on a limb to say it’s like watching those creepy ABC movie of the week specials from the 70’s. Apparently James Jr. was a little sociopath. He killed the family cat and then blamed his mother. She was a bad mother and if she stayed he whispered in her ear that he would hurt Barbara too. So she apparently had a nervous breakdown and because she loved her family so much, she left. It’s funny, with all the blood and gore the most recent Batman comics have presented to us, they don’t show us the mutilated cat. That’s always the way in movies and now I guess comics, humans are expendable, but don’t you dare harm the pets!
Are you scratching your head yet? It gets better. James Jr. grew up to be a serial killer and is currently residing in Arkham Asylum!! That was the big secret of James Gordon’s lost son. It’s a very frightening twist.
Batgirl goes to Danny’s apartment and gets ambushed by Grotesque. They have a few bouts in a thunderstorm, and Grotesque wields around his electrified cane to harness the lightning. Just when he has her, Danny has a change of heart and shoots at him. He misses and gets shot at. Batgirl knocks Grotesque out and as Danny is dying he tells her the truth about the night of the Joker’s attack. Even though he didn’t care about what happened, he was the one who later called the police to save Barbara’s life.
Cut to a bar downtown. Alysia, Barbara’s roommate, is just ending her shift. She bumps into a red-haired man with glasses. Despite it being late and stormy and knowing she lives in Gotham – a city full of wackos – she decides a machiatto wouldn’t hurt. This can only turn out badly no matter how you slice it. (terrible pun considering James is a psychopath from Arkham!)
The revelation about Barbara’s brother is the most interesting twist of this issue. Otherwise Grotesque turned out to be a ho-hum villain, a snob in a mask who got his butt handed to him on a silver platter by Batgirl.
Until next time!
Overall Grade: 8/10