Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Batgirl 20, originally released May 15th, 2013.
Spencer: We expect our heroes to be there for us when we need them, but who’s there for our heroes when they need help? Batman turns to Alfred, Superman turns to Lois Lane, and Batgirl turns to…her psychiatrist? While Barbara isn’t the first superhero to see a shrink, it’s rare for one with a secret identity to do so. Babs is putting herself at risk, yet where else can she turn? The failure of Barbara’s support system couldn’t have come at a worse time; not only is she weighed down by guilt, she’s also facing the most frightening new villain to show her face in Gotham in years. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batgirl 19, originally released April 10th, 2013.
Shelby: I’m the oldest kid of three. My brother, sister, and I get on famously now, but that certainly wasn’t always the case. As a kid, I knew that Lindsey and Ben would always be compared to me; I came first, chronologically speaking, and that made me the yardstick. It’s not a fair system: not fair to the sibling forced to be the standard and DEFINITELY not fair to the siblings forced to be compared to someone else instead of being free to forge their own path. Happily, though, the Peterson kids weren’t raised in Gotham, where sibling rivalry is enough to turn a kid with an overachiever sister into a sociopath. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Batgirl 18, originally released March 13th, 2013.
Patrick: You know how NBC does a week of environmentally themed shows for the week of Earth Day? (Maybe they even call it Earth Week, who knows?) It’s a network-wide mandate and there’s a persistent green peacock in the lower right corner of the screen to remind us of this fact. How individual shows deal with this mandate is sorta flexible — The Office will relegate their green message to the cold open, and 30 Rock will have Al Gore on again. Everybody tows the line because to not do it would be monstrous. You don’t want to be the only sitcom that doesn’t care about global warming, right? Batgirl 18 finds itself in a similar predicament: how to participate in this REQUIEM without derailing the series’ forward momentum. Ray Fawkes eschews convention by trading in themes rather than plot points. The results are mixed. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Batgirl 17, originally released February 13th, 2013.
Patrick: Like 20 minutes into the movie Fight Club, Ed Norton’s character meets Brad Pitt’s character for the first time. [I'm about to spoil Fight Club - heads up.] Prior to this point, there’s almost non-stop voice over from Norton’s character, prattling on about life, work, commercialism, phonies, etc. But the second Pitt’s Tyler Durden is introduced, the voice over goes away and the two men have a conversation — the irony, of course, being that they’re the same person, so he’s kinda still talking to himself. But the effect of losing that trusty, comfortable narration is jarring, setting up this scene as a Scene That Matters. Batgirl 17 robs us of a similar comfort as it delves deeper into the broken Gordon family. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batgirl 16 originally released January 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Drew: Themes are tricky. As a semi-abstracted element of storytelling, they require an attention to detail that simply isn’t always there, but our perennial favorites never seem to struggle. Gail Simone has proven herself particularly adept at weaving notions of fear and independence into Batgirl, creating individual issues that satisfy emotionally even when the narrative doesn’t conclude. Leave it to the Joker to throw a wrench in those gears, thwarting any sense of thematic unity — essentially generating a meta-theme of chaos. It’s a brilliant and unexpected choice that manages to make the reading experience subtly unsettling beyond the issue’s own gruesome imagery. Continue reading →
We generally avoid quantifying our enthusiasm around here — we’ll gladly praise or condemn comics as our tastes dictate, but turning that into a grade or a score makes us uncomfortable. As there are in our pull-list, there are holes in this ‘Best of’ list. Mea culpa. We’ve had some great experiences with comics this year, and these are the series that were consistently fun, thoughtful and beautiful. Too subjective for a year-end list? Ignore the rankings. Any way you slice it, these are fantastic series that deserve the scrutiny we heap on everything. Each is a rewarding read and well worth your attention. Our picks for the top 12 series of 2012:
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batgirl 15 originally released December 12th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Drew: Much of being an adult is about suppressing our impulses. Taking that huge slice of cake, telling that inappropriate joke at work, or throttling the annoying guy on the train may cross our minds, but usually our understanding of the consequences wins out. As a crime-fighter with a secret identity, Barbara Gordon is particularly adept at keeping her impulses in check — she keeps it together when a case is frustrating her, or when a loved one is in mortal peril. Still, even she has her limits, and getting married to the man who paralyzed her AND JUST MUTILATED HER MOTHER is pretty clearly over the line. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Batgirl 14 originally released November 14th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Shelby: There are two stories I’m most looking forward to with Death of the Family: Jason Todd’s, and Barbara Gordon’s. Their connection to the Joker is the most violent, both physically and psychologically. Obviously, the Joker is in Gotham to destroy the entire Bat-family, physically and psychologically, but those two have a little more heart invested in the situation. We have spent the last year watching Babs grow and recover; she’s back to her strong, confident, compassionate self. With the Joker’s return, she’s changing again, but instead of reverting to frightened and powerless, she’s becoming a creature of rage: an even greater victory for the Joker. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Mikzyptlk are discussing the Batgirl Annual, originally released October 31st, 2012.
Shelby: “The Bat, The Cat, and the Owl.” It sounds like some sort of nursery rhyme, but it’s actually the cast of the Batgirl Annual. Gail Simone has teamed up Batgirl with Catwoman and recently sprung lady-talon Mary. The result is a touching look at three very unique ladies: one unequivocally good, one (seemingly) unequivocally bad, and one who toes the line between the two. “But Shelby!” you cry, “Where’s the Joker? What about James, Jr. and Babs, Sr.?” It’s true, we don’t get any of that in this issue. While that does make the timing of this issue a little tricky, Simone delivers such a strong character piece with these three gals that I don’t mind in the least. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batgirl 13 originally released October 10th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Shelby: What was the last really difficult thing you had to do? It could be something physical, mental, whatever. About a year ago, I ran a 10K, the longest race I’ve run yet, and it was hard. I had trained for it, but not enough that it was a walk in the park. Not only was it hard on my body, it was also hard on my brain. I had to spend a lot of time reminding myself that I could in fact do it, that the little voice telling me I couldn’t was wrong. After it was over, you know what I did? I immediately went home and ran a half marathon. No, no, I’m totally kidding; I had brunch and took a nap. I rested, I rewarded myself for accomplishing this difficult task. Batgirl is concluding her fight with Knightfall just as Death of the Family is ramping up; instead of resting her broken body, things are just going to get much, much harder for Barbara. Continue reading →