Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Release Day Review: Batgirl, Vol. 4: Wanted by Gail Simone, Fernando Pasarín (Illustrations), Daniel Sampere (Illustrations)

Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Twitter | Website | Goodreads

Batgirl struggles to continue fighting crime after being emotionally drained by the death of her brother, James, Jr. With her relationships with Batman and her father strained, Batgirl face one of Batman's most ruthless villains, The Ventriloquist, alone.
Collects Batgirl issues #19-25, Ventriliquist #1.

I have such a girl-crush on Gail Simone!
And if DC ever decides to take her unwillingly off of this title, I have no doubt I would boycott the bastards.

This volume focuses on two different stories that crisscross and intersect very well, in my opinion.
First, we get an introduction to the new (and I think vastly improved) Ventriloquist.
Second, we see the fallout from the last volume, Batgirl: Death of the Family. Mainly, that Barbara isn't sure she can keep playing the role of Batgirl after what happened.

Warning: Potential Death of the Family Spoilers Ahead!

For those of you who don't remember the original Ventriloquist...
Join the fucking club.
Nobody remembers him very well, because he's a D-list villain whose only distinction is being less popular than the Mad Hatter.
At any rate, from what I do remember of him, he was a tiny little guy with a puppet. And the puppet was a mobster.
Yep. Real Scary.
Now a few years back, they came out with a female version of the character, which seemed to be a bit of an improvement...but in the end, she was still just a crazy chick with a semi-magical marionette.
Enter the new Ventriloquist!
We get introduced to Shauna Belzer when she was a child, being tormented by bullies at a birthday party. As fate would have it, she finds Scarface (the above mentioned puppet) during the backyard celebration. And once Scarface is added into the mix, the body count really starts piling up. Now, would Shauna have been a psychopath without the intervention of the dummy?
We later find out she had a twin, and both of them were evidently vying for a spot in the fabulous world of Child Stardom.
I have to ask why anyone would think that allowing your child to become part of the Hollywood churn-and-burn is a good idea? If they don't get famous, you might be ok. But if they do, then what?! How many of the BIG child stars make it out of that without serious damage? I mean, the Epic Fails are all over the news! How do you NOT see that?!
Personally, I do not want to have to worry whether or not a video of my kid pooping on a stripper...or some such nonsense...will go viral.
So Shauna is Miley Cyrus with a talking doll.
Imagine, if you can, an even creepier version of Wrecking Ball...

At this point, Barabara has hit a low point, and is really starting to doubt herself. For one thing, Jim Gordon is out for blood, after witnessing Batgirl (supposedly) kill his son, James.
And James needed killin'!
Still, as evil as James was, I can understand Jim's feelings. After all, you can't stop loving your kid, just because they turned out to be a sociopathic serial killer!
Dear Baby Jesus,
Please don't let any of my kids grow up to be deranged murderer.
Also, peace on earth...starving countries...global warming...etc..
In a effort to keep her family intact, she tries to hang up her cape and try for a normal life. Of course, that's not gonna happen. Now, those of you who read Batgirl: Knightfall Descends might remember the young punk that she saved, who ended up losing his leg to Knightfall's trap. Well, over the course of the last book, he grew into an upstandingish young man, with a major crush on Batgirl. At first it didn't seem to be heading anywhere, but Babs took a shine to the fella, and managed to arrange to bump into him without the suit on.
His brother is still in trouble with a gang, though, and it plays heavily into the overall ending of the story. I don't want to spoil too much, but her relationship with this guy ends up being the deciding factor in whether or not she lets her guilt, and Papa Gordon's grief and anger, take her out of the game.

Between date nite, daddy issues, and a totally demented villain, this was an incredibly interesting addition to the new chronicles of Batgirl!
My only complaint (and it's NOT a new one) is that I'm getting a little sick of all the gory stuff. Let's tone down the eyeballs hanging out of sockets, the rotting corpses, and the victims who've been flayed alive. I'm a bit done seeing dead people posed in family portraits, m'kay?
Find a happy medium, DC!


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