Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Gordon’
Bring it on Stephanie haters, I’m loving the new Batgirl book. The move from the dark & twisty, accepted by the Bat-family Cass Cain to perennial screw-up and Bat-family black sheep Stephanie Brown has upset a lot of fans, but putting Steph under the mantle of the Dark Knight Damsel has opened up a great opportunity to showcase Barbara Gordon.
Look, Babs approved wholeheartedly when Cassandra assumed her old masked identity. The boy Bats all loved her too. Cass loved Bruce. Bruce died (sort of). Cass is just NOT into it anymore, and I don’t blame her. Steph is a ditz. She’s sloppy. She screws up, ALL THE TIME. Babs does not approve. Babs wants Steph to go the hell home.
But Babs is Babs, and she knows Steph isn’t going to just go home, so by issue #2, everytime Steph gets in a tight spot, the Oracle is there in her ear. Cass could always manage well enough on her own, she didn’t need Barbara half as much as Steph will. The new Batgirl run seems to be setting up Steph as the brawn and Barbara as the brains, and with Birds of Prey cancelled, I’m all for it.
For years, we’ve all watched Barbara deal with what the Joker did to her. Part of me hates that in a world where dead heroes come back to life weekly, Barbara Gordon still can’t walk. But, in a very bizarre way, getting stuck in that chair forced Barbara to become so much more than a hot vigilante babe. And it’s not because of some lame “overcoming adversity” bullshit. She’s not the magical handicapped girl – no, not EVEN.
With Batman dead (sort of), Barbara is, in many ways, the ringleader of Gotham’s caped vigilantes right now. Dick might be wearing the mantle, but it’s Barbara that’s keeping everyone together. Not only that, but with Martian Manhunter dead too, Barbara’s even keeping the wider caped community in contact.
Stephanie Brown is a screw up, but dammit – she tries. I can forgive her for not being Cass. Barbara Gordon is a badass, and even if her legs started working tomorrow, she’d still be so much more as Oracle than she would be in any kind of spandex.
Babs is just as front and center as Steph in the new Batgirl book. And it’s awesome. Even if you HATEHATEHATE Stephanie Brown, you should pick up the new Batgirl. I’m reading it with vodka and whatever juice I happen to have in the house. You should just read it, period.
Before we get there, I know what complaints I’m gonna get. “Where’s Bruce Wayne? The Spirit? Tony Stark?” Well, not here. Batman and the Spirit are legends in their own right, big enough that I’d consider their legacy to be a power in and of itself. And Tony Stark has weird implants now. TOTALLY COUNTS. Also, he has the power to drink more than ten Winston Churchills.
10. Expert swordfighter, chess-player, and bull-dresser, Seaguy (apparently, also his real name?) wants nothing more that to actually be a superhero. Unfortunately, when you live in some Orwellian acid trip and all you have is a wetsuit and a sidekick like Chubby Da Choona (a floating, cigar-smoking tuna who is afraid of water), this is harder than it seems. Seaguy somehow deals with Xoo (“1/2 an animal on a stick!”), Egyptians on the moon, the Gondolier (aka: Death), and a bizarre parody of Walt Disney and his creations. If you couldn’t tell from that description, this is one of Grant Morrison’s fucking balls-out head trips. He’s written two of three volumes so far and, as weird as the book is, I’m eagerly awaiting the final arc. DA FUG!
9. Frank Castle watched his whole family get murdered by a mob in Central Park. In retaliation, he became the Punisher shot EVERYBODY EVER. Armed to the fucking teeth, this guy took on Bullseye, Spider-Man, and the unfuckwithable Kingpin. And what does he have to show for it? Three movies, all of which Marvel hopes you forget (and none of which where he’s played by Henry Rollins, what gives?). His Archie team up was better than all of his movies. Poor Guy.
8. I’ll let Maggie take this one, here she is: Xander is AWESOME. He is the world’s most adorable weenie, but he’s also the Nick Fury of the Buffyverse. And before I hear a word about Xander’s televised origins, he is in BUFFY SEASON EIGHT. Which is a comic. By Joss Whedon (and friends). The closest Xander ever came to really having powers was being able to remember random military shit from that one time he got turned into a Real Soldier on Halloween. He worked for Dracula. Hell, he was BFF with Count-fucking-Dracula for a minute. Xander can tame vengeance demons, rage-blind witches, and the Slayer herself. He lost his virginity to Faith (hot), and he decapitated the motherfucker who killed his most recent paramour. Do not. Fuck. With Xander.
7. Vic Sage and Renee Montoya are both totally underrated folks. Vic Sage was the Question for-fucking-ever and then Rucka took over. Vic died from lung cancer in Nanda Parbat while talking crazy at Renee Montoya. She ended up taking up the mantle from him and subsequently beat the shit out of the cult of Cain during Final Crisis and is now beating the shit out of inner city thugs while busting up a prostitution ring. Fuck yeah, the Questions. Most underappreciated heroes ever!
6. Between his Twilight of the Superheroes pitch and Rorschach, it seemed like Alan Moore had it out to create the antithesis of the Question. At the start, Rorschach is the only active vigilante left in the Watchmen universe. Keeping in mind that this was written during the Cold War (AND the Reagan administration), Rorschach is intensely right-wing and anti-Communist. Despite being as mentally (and hygienically) fucked up as possible, he manages to do what none of the others would and (SPOILER) die for what he believes.
5. Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson get lumped together. I know, it’s cheating, but it is OK. She is Oracle, he is Robin or Nightwing or Batman or whatever. You already know all about them so whatever. And you know what? Maggie’s right. They need to freaking get it on already. Get on it, Morrison!
4. John Constantine almost seemed like an after thought. He was created by Alan Moore as a sort of guide for Swamp Thing when he was freaking out over his identity. What he ended up being was the DCU’s definitive Fox Mulder-style paranormal detective. Pick an author and it’s more than likely that John Constantine has been featured in one of their stories at some point. One of my favorite things about this character is that he ages in real time. Seriously, how much more human can you get than that?
3. Ollie has a hell of a story. Dude was a Bruce Wayne wannabe who crashes onto an island and learns to make and shoot bows and arrows. He eventually gets off the island, dons a Robin Hood-like costume, and becomes a super-liberal crime fighter. He also becomes mayor of Star City, starred in a weird political series with Green Lantern Hal Jordan (written by Dennis O’Neill), marries Black Canary (arguably one of the most sought after ladies of the DCU), and goes through absolute fucking Hell (both literally in Kevin Smith’s run and figuratively in Mike Grell’s excellent The Longbow Hunters). Here’s just an idea I’d like to throw around, though, DC. Queen in the White House in 2012. You KNOW that’d be awesome.
2. Spider Jerusalem is essentially just Hunter S. Thompson if he’d have lived til the future. As much of a “gonzo journalist” as Hunter was, Spider roams around the City “monstering” with his “filthy assistants,” trying to expose the politicians for the dicks they are. He is not one to sell his soul and certainly not one to just roll over. He is as persistent in accomplishing his goals as some of the capes are and certainly willing to die to achieve them. I’m not usually a fan of Warren Ellis’ stuff (Iron Man: Extremis excluded) but his writing on this character is amazing. I’m eventually going to write an entry about the brilliance of Transmetropolitan once I re-read it (for, like, the fifth time).
1. What? I’m putting a MARVEL character at number one? Damn straight I am… Motherfucking Nick Fury. Dude is pretty much in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D, an organization so powerful that it practically controls the Marvel Universe. Nick Fury has the greatest superpower of all, political power, and is able to pretty much get anything he wants done. Plus, the dude can keep HYDRA at bay, and in the Marvel Universe, that is pretty much the hardest thing EVER. Kudos, Mr. Fury. You win at being the bestest regular human EVER.
This is a recap post. As such, it is SPOILERRIFIC. We clear? Okay. Batgirl #1 starts with a bunch of dumb boys racing to see who can stop just short of a wall while some gangleader takes bets on who’ll die, because criminals in Gotham are always psychotic or stupid. A bat-with-boobs swoops in, stopping both cars – but she’s sloppy and causes a lot of property damage and broken bones in the process. That alone should have told you who’s under that cowl.
Dick-Batman and Damien-Robin are skulking somewhere high above the action, just WATCHING, like dicks. They call her sloppy (she is), and Dick says she’s not as good as the OTHER Batgirl, kicking off the spotlight on the romantic tension between Dick and Babs that DC has promised to carry on throughout the year, DAMMIT. Just do it already.
Next page? SPLASH SPOILER ALERT it’s STEPHANIE BROWN, the Bat-family’s bitch. Batman & Robin (whoever they might be at any given moment) couldn’t give less of a shit about her most of the time, unless she’s literally DYING. Her relationship with Tim was full of dramz and afterschool specials that would never get a comics code stamp. A few Red Robin‘s ago she promised to stop patrolling in the Spoiler persona. Yet here she is, inexplicably wearing Cass Cain’s Batgirl costume, which I guess is her way of getting around that whole PROMISE she made to Tim Drake. I mean Wayne. Whatever.
Next, Stephanie’s mom brings her WAFFLES in BED. Best mom ever. But this was SPOILED at SDCC this year. I had prior knowledge of these waffles, dammit! Mom is proud of Steph for going to college and being normal, no more of that vigilante stuff. She steps towards Steph’s closet asking “What are you going to wear?” The Batgirl costume is hanging up in there, so Steph freaks out and gets between her mom and the closet door. I don’t know about you, but to my mom, that would have been a sign to open the closet door and figure out what the fuck I was hiding in there. But no. Mom leaves. Sigh of relief.
Next, Barbara is watching a ladies wheelchair basketball game, coached by Bruce’s friend Dr. Leslie Thompson. Leslie wants Barbara to play basketball with them. Barbara is FML Alan Moore made me so psychotically angry can’t deal. She takes the subway home, and some muggers go for the chick in the wheelchair. Babs gives them what-for, and enjoys the hell out of it and Barbara Gordon is so fucking awesome I can’t deal.
Stephanie in Philosophy 480 at Gotham U. She’s being flakey and not paying attention, drawing Bat symbols all over her notes. Spacing out, she flashes us back to…
Three weeks ago: Steph as Spoiler and Cass as Batgirl are fighting some thugs. There’s a cute little team up jinx moment here that is actually adorable, but when the fight is over Cass is all fuck this shit Bruce is dead and I don’t WANNA. So she gives her Batgirl costume to Steph and disappears.
Next up, Babs has dinner with Commissioner Dad. All the cops still love Barbara cos she was their “little red-headed mascot.” Babs is touched, maybe, but also non-plussed I think. Commissioner Dad wants to hook her up with the hot new detective at GCPD. Babs is annoyed. Dick Grayson calls, and she’s MORE annoyed, cos omg DO IT ALREADY.
Steph is at home, NOT doing her homework. She’s trying to find a way to rationalize breaking promises to at least three different people and going out on patrol anyway. She’s got a police scanner. Homework or vigilante-ism? Guess which one Steph picks?
There’s a riot in Gotham. Commissioner Gordon is there, his guys are getting killed left and right. Nick (who I think might be Hot! Detective) is with the bad guys. They’re roughing each other up until a little bat punches through the window. She does a pretty ok job of beating up the bad guys, but as usual, she kind of fucks it up, almost getting Hot! Detective Nick killed in the process. Nick radios back to Gordon; “I met my first Bat-person! …Wait? Which Bat are you again?” Stephanie skulks off, annoyed.
Next morning, the gratuitous shower scene. I guess she’s college age now so this isn’t THAT icky. Steph is tired, and thinks maybe she should have just done her homework instead of going out and beating up bad guys willy-nilly. She walks downstairs to see…
A VERY annoyed Barbara at her kitchen table. Steph’s mom is held up at work. Babs is annoyed as fuck. Babs tells Steph to have some waffles. This should be a fun talk…except, END of issue.
Yeah, I’m going to keep reading this as long as it’s Barbara-heavy. Honestly, Steph just needs Barbara in her ear at ALL moments of her life, in costume or not. I feel bad for Stephanie. Everyone loves Barbara, but Steph’s been consistently pulled into the Bat-family only to be unceremoniously dumped out of it how many times now? Maybe wearing the Bat-symbol for real will force her to grow up and be a little less nuts and a little more bad ass? Probably not, but getting this much Barbara in a book is good.
I’ll go ahead and a give it a 3.5 out of 5. It was kind of cheesy, but this is meant to be a lighter title, and I LOVE the Gordons so it gets a big boost for that alone. The second they stop showing up though…well, let’s just say I’m less likely to fork my money over for a Batgirl book without at least a Barbara cameo. Just sayin’.