Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's Your Issue? Spotlight on Batgirl #6

A new week brings new comics. Since X-Factor was a Marvel title, I figured let's switch things up with a DC 'New 52'. Since Batgirl is slightly more fun than Superboy this week, that's what I'm going to talk about. Deal with it.

Batgirl #6 is a direct let's-pick-up-right-at-the-end of Batgirl #5 issue. There's a new villain with multi-colored hairdos named Gretel that can appearantly mind control people. I guessed that it was just men last issue, and that's pretty much confirmed here. Anyway, she took control of Bruce Wayne's limo driver who I think had a gun for some reason, so Batgirl swoops in to save him. Only... Bruce Wayne is mindcontrolled, too. And he's motherf@$#ing Batman.

So Barbara is about to face off against Bruce, who has a crowbar and an angry expression. She doesn't want to hurt him, but is also worried she might lose to him in a fight regardless. He keeps repeating '338' - a signature of all of Gretel's victims. Batgirl does a pretty good job fending him off. She's also remembering Bruce's support after she got shot by The Joker, so we get some insight into their rebooted relationship. They weren't close before that, but looks like he had her back and they became buds after. I guess to get Batman to like you, just get shot. Anyway, Batgirl is winning... then she gets slammed on the head by Bruce's personal assistant. This was awesome because I totally didn't expect it. Then that female cop shows up who hates Batgirl from the first 4 issues and I think pistol whips her.

The whole issue was very violent, obviously.

Gretel skeedadles off-frame, and only Batgirl really notices. Bruce confides to her in a "we're close enough to whisper" moment that he's "mostly" faking the mind control, meaning Gretel must have gotten through somewhat. He needed to save face for his assistant and any other witnesses, but now that the battle is kind of over and he's regained his wits fully, well... mother f@#%3ing Batman is gonna help a girl out. I don't think the issue really resolves how he's not mindcontrolled anymore. I guess that's explained away as, "well, he never fully was to begin with." But still.

There's a nice scene at Barbara's apartment (becoming my favorite panels in the issues to wait for) where her recently returned mother is baking like a madwoman. As a side effect, also kind of driving her roommate nuts. Barbara hasn't warmed to her mother any more since the last issue, and can't be that enthusiastic when she's facing a seemingly unstoppable crazy chick who can mind control people. I like how she goes to her room and sneaks some muffins anyway since, as she puts, "I'm not made of stone." She calls Batman and they decide to team up to take this Gretel lady down. Bruce is going to be bait. Gentleman in distress?

I forgot to even tell you why Gretel is targeting Bruce. Is that even important? Do you even care? I guess he's trying to clean up Gotham with urban renewal / development projects. He starts giving a speech about how his dad loved Gotham and he does, too and blah blah blah. Batgirl is on the lookout for a weird hair color or mindcontrolled people... when she realizes all the cops on duty have been whammied. She saves Bruce just in the nick of time. She spots Gretel on the rafters, Bruce is already in Batman garb (which Batgirl even points out was ridiculously fast. It was. It was very implausible. Good catch, Babs), and they "race" up to confront her.

There's a whole thing about Gretel's origin. About how she's a journalist, got discovered by the mob she was investigating, and then murdered. She's ambitious and alone, and Barbara draws a parallel. Which... why? She has Bruce. She has her Dad. She even has Dick, kinda. Grayson, this is. She's far too down on herself at that moment. Anyway, Gretel tries to kill herself. This was her endgame all along. Batgirl saves her, but it's more a sad moment than anything else. Sure Gretel killed the people responsible for destroying her life... but her life is still destoyed. There's no coming back from that crazy.

A solid issue. Worth the purchase, but I'm glad the Gretel arc only lasted 2 issues.

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