Day 14 Since the Disappearance:
Leaked photos of the mission made it back to HQ. Massive spiders, blood-thirsty sharks, and ferocious kangaroos were scene with the team. We fear the worst.
It is time to begin training my other sister to take up the mantle of the Successful Child. The training will be long and hard, but hopefully with time we will heal.
Batgirl of Burnside.
Batgirl of Burnside picks up after Gail Simone’s ends. In the end, she fights off the group Knightfall from blah-blah-blah destruction of Gotham. At the end, Batgirl bursts out with how she is going to leave. She needs to get away. It felt so out of character and out of nowhere that I already began to worry. Then I saw the cover art:
To give it credit, the art style is really good. I like the bright colors, the style, and the heavier line weights. I love to encounter new art. Batman Detective Comics have a new artist every single panel (or so it seems).
It finally came out and I rushed to it like someone rushes to see a catastrophe. I was still hoping.
First fucking panel we see Batgirl and her friend Alysia seeing her off in her new apartment. Her one friend who was her rock in many situations. She’s smart, attentive, charming, and she’s transsexual. While she does appear from time to time in the Burnside comic, its alarming that the cast of Batgirl characters essentially gets thrown out. I’d be less mad but neither her dad, her mom, Batman, or any of the other Bat family show up in the entire first volume.
More on that on that later.
Second fucking page we see Barbara wake up hungover. She tromps out into the living room in naught but a t-shirt and panties to find out she passed out after having made out with a stranger.
Think I’m kidding?
Yes, please tell me more. Strong, responsible, and smart Barbara Gordon gets totally blackout hammered and makes out with strangers. It’s like watching my little girl grow up and date terrible people. I’m not crying. Fuck you.
When she wakes up she notices her laptop is missing. How are we going to find out who took it?
Instagram you fucking idiots, duh, how else do young hip people learn about people who may have stolen their laptops? They call it Pixtagraph but its fucking instagram. She lives with a girl who is a programmer for Hooq, the newest and hottest dating app that apparently everyone is swooning over. According to the writer its impossible for young hip characters to interact correctly unless its over some level of an electronic device.
As a note, I’ll mention that I haven’t memorized the writers name like Gail. You earn the right, and this one fucking did not.
I’ll mention now that much later she mentions that the app is still in beta and won’t be ready for a big Hooq party. Its not really important to my point, but it shows the level of writing that the app is simultaneously in beta and used enough that they want to throw a huge Hooq concert?
The reason she is so worried about her laptop is that her thesis was on it. Her thesis is using a scan of her brain to create pattern recognizing algorithms. She scanned her own brain to do this, which is apparently a lot of data.
Talking with various people she meets up with she finds out that some guy named Riot Black is likely in possession of it. He has people steal electronics and then he scraps them for their secrets and uploads them to his website for likes or something.
This seems so very clearly against several laws. So with everyone knowing he does this, surely they have called the police right?
Also- he’s a DJ.
Turns out he has cybernetic implants in his eye that he can use to directly connect with electronics and upload them immediately to his site. Pretty cool villain concept. Wanna know how she defeats him?
She finds out during the fight about his implants. So she makes him a deal, she’ll reveal her identity if he deletes all the stolen data he’s been compiling. He agrees and instructs her her to send her pic via Snapgab.
She sends the picture to the right.
Batgirl loaded a worm onto another phone that he uploaded into his brain. When he sees that photo, it activates the worm and it deletes everything which leaves him…
They never actually say what happens to him. Smash-cut back to the apartment?
Turns out her laptop was wiped and everything is mostly lost, and now she’s without her thesis. How can you re-create it? If only she had an eidetic memory! Or maybe if she was super tech-savvy like Oracle?
Don’t be alarmed. It might sound like pleading, but it’s only a despair sandwich.
With something so important and secret as her brain scan that- ya know, contains the identities of the Bat-family members- why didn’t she lock it up somewhere important? Wouldn’t it be cool if she could store these things on something with like Turbo-Bat-Encryption? Like in a cave or something?
Being seen at the Riot Black concert gives Batgirl a celebrity status. People all throughout Burnside are excited about her! It gets so bad that we actually see a couple people impersonating Batgirl. So Barbara Gordon’s crime fighting role comes down to hunting down catfishes. This is what I wanted to see. The iconic Batgirl! Fighting…crime?
Barbara Gordon ends up at an art show. The topic of the art show? Batgirl. The artist Dagger Type did an entire show on our intrepid hero. Barbara is furious! Dagger is going to ruin her reputation! Barbara will see an end to this.
Turns out that Dagger Type is a cross-dresser or transsexual; its never really clarified. Dagger is attempting to become Batgirl by luring the real one out and killing her. Dagger Type then throws a finale show where its revealed that Dagger is Batgirl! No one buys it, a gun is drawn, blah-blah-blah arrested.
After this she realizes she needs to take control of her persona and her reputation! What scheme will she come up with to show the public that she’s not a twit!?
Pixtagram. Instagraph. Facegab. I don’t know anymore. Fuck it.
On a side note, why does a vigilante, a person who’s inherently breaking the law, care about reputation?
Also- where is Batman?
In any of these situations he would’ve intervened. It has nothing to do with how capable Batgirl is. Batman does not tolerate impersonators, and even when they are actually trying to be crime-fighters he tries to shut that down. His crusade is his own and he rarely lets people join him.
Batman values and prioritizes his Bat-families safety and their identities. Under no circumstances would he allow Batgirl to be so prevalent on the web. As readers, we can sort of gloss over the fact that the mask and voice aren’t going to trick anybody who knows them. We know this, and we ignore it. We cannot ignore that when she’s posing for photos that someone is going to figure it out who she is.
With her media presence, by now Batman would’ve noticed she’s not wearing a Bat-approved suit. Her old comrade in capes Dinah Lance (Black Canary) comes to visit because her gym burned down. Turns out that even though they weren’t really talking, or even currently friends, Batgirl was storing her stuff in that gym. Her suit and all of her crime-fighting equipment went up in flames. After that fact, she makes her own Batgirl suit. While very charming and resourceful, Batman would not tolerate this. He acknowledges that crime-fighting is dangerous and helps fund new fighting suits. Batman wants you to be safe and up-to-date.
The other reason he would get himself involved is that the the missing scan of Barbara’s brain isn’t exactly a private matter. His entire legacy and the lives of everyone he cares about is stored in that scan. He would’ve seen the pictures of her at the Riot Black concert, figured out what Riot Black does, and would probably be curious as to why Batgirl is there. Put two and two together and he’ll probably figure out that something important is at risk of being exposed.
Black Canary actually points this out to her, and she goes full 16-year old. Waaaaah Batman can’t tell me what to do.
Bitch. He’s Batman. When he says anything, God listens.
Batgirl and Black Canary have a falling out after that. Would you be so flippant about one of your closest friends just leaving you? Nah man, Batgirl actually explains how with her celebrity status she has friends and a real life. Those are her words. I can’t find the panel on the web but she says that. Being a celebrity as Batgirl gives her a life and friends. She doesn’t need a superhero ally.
She’s not too upset about Canary ditching her because she has a new cop boyfriend! The cop often goes on rants about how being a vigilante is disrespectful and damaging, which Barbara coyly tries to refute.
During his rant the cop talks about a dude who’s totally not Justin Bieber. Barbara asks why the cops don’t take him down for his illegal racing and driving under the influence. Barbara takes this upon herself to prove a point to her boyfriend.
She goes to a bar to take down Not-Bieber, but he’s having none of it and gets in his car. I’m not sure how he made it all the way to the car when Batgirl could have restrained him, but uhhhhh…
So she’s chasing him through the streets. They almost hit several people and it ends with him crashing his car into an old Burnside diner called Cuppa Joes. This pisses everyone one off because he wouldn’t have been provoked to drive like an idiot, and Batgirl caused him to crash. She actually says to the police when they arrive that she did it for the safety of the people and the city.
Somehow the bright Barbara Gordon doesn’t realize how stupid this was. Thank got Instabook was there to give her clarity.
So we’re at the low point of the arc. There is a Hooq concert happening and everyone’s going because the app is… coming out of beta or something. When it comes out of beta it’ll be huge. I dunno. This is what hipsters and startup companies do right?
Barbara’s scan is still missing, she’s losing her real friends, and she’s no longer popular. There is sort of an interesting subplot where Barbara is worried that something is going on behind everything else. She receives a phone call from herself and many of her recent friends and villains have weird tidbits of information she doesn’t recall passing along.
The day before the concert, her roommate who works for Hooq is missing. No one can find her and she isn’t responding to texts? Did you try and call her? Barbara tries (she’s the smart one) when she finds out. It turns out her roommates’s phone was vibrating like 10 feet away from the people texting her because YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T KNOW HOW TO INTERACT WITH OTHER PEOPLE EVEN IN AN EMERGENCY. FUCK WE ARE SO GODDAMN HIP.
She befriends Black Canary again because consequences are for pussy-ass bitches and they go to the Hooq headquarters where the concert is being held. Batgirl goes to the top of the tower and finds her roommate going through some files that reveals her to be Batgirl. Then, from the shadows the real villain appears. The person that’s been orchestrating all the other events to lead to this mome-
It’s the fucking dating app. Her glorious first overarching villain from the shadows is a dating app.
A dating app.
Turns out her brain scan was… put into the app somehow? My guess is that Riot Black loaded it up and it got into Hooq servers. And because of the power of sexting it became… sentient?
I mean- it is sort of a cool concept, but why the dating app? Why not anything more serious?
Turns out the app used itself to determine which people are at risk of committing crimes. Since everyone ever ever ever is on Hooq, it set up this concert to attract all of the potential criminals into one spot so it can use space lasers. Not sure why not one person from Hooq Headquarters had a problem with this. Setting up a huge concert must be fucking cake and also cost no money.
Sooooo… they defeat it with the power of friendship and the volume ends.
I wanted something to salvage. The stories are forgettable and the villains are caricatures of what someone who heard about hipsters second hand. Dagger Type was supposed to be a transsexual or a cross-dresser, but was portrayed so poorly that there was public backlash.
The dialogue is shit. It’s written in a way that no one actually talks like. No one has ever in total seriousness ever ended a sentence with “Whaaaaat!” No one has ever had a group photo and told everyone to say “Kawaii!” No one thinks being 32 years old is ancient. People don’t seem to be able to exist outside social media. All of Batgirl’s equipment is essentially stolen from the local college.
She fucking forgets how to be Batgirl.
No seriously, she’s fighting two girls on two motorcycles who are supposed to be cosplays of villains from an anime she watched when she was seven. How can she possibly defeat them!?Why she’ll flashback to when she was a kid and remember how the anime protagonist beat them… then do the same thing.
You are fucking Batgirl. You are smart, resourceful, and strong. Or at least you used to be.
She isn’t fighting crime or solving mysteries. This is a series of events involving her life as Barbara and her status as Batgirl. I’m not saying she shouldn’t fight crime that directly involves herself, but the only one that really threatened human life was the Hooq app and its plan to maximum-over-swipe with space lasers.
To give credit where credit is due there is a varied cast of characters that cover different ethnicities, sexualities, and genders. Especially since they don’t try and throw it out there too far. The cop that Barbara dates brings some nice tension to the situation and humanizes Barbara a little more. The art style is fucking delightful.
After you find out the Hooq app is swiping left on all of Gotham there is a nice little bit where you see the events of the brain scan becoming sentient. You see it remembering her past, her trauma, and her efforts to overcome herself and her obstacles. And then it sees the current Batgirl essentially devolving into a tween-y mess and it becomes enraged seeing her body go to waste.
Man, how fucking redeemed would this comic be if the Hooq app actually defeated her and returned to her body to become Gail Simone’s Batgirl again? Like- switch back to the old art style and everything. Holy shit.
Well there you have it. My three part arc about Batgirl and why I love her, and hate how she changed. Change isn’t a bad thing, they were trying something new and its just not jiving with me. That’s my problem, not theirs.
At the very least I still have Batman. He’s tried and true. They wouldn’t try something-