This week from DC Comics we get the final note in the Batgirl title, Batgirl 50. After last issue, Barbara has some decisions to make. Her mentally unbalanced brother JJ is dead. He brought it upon himself, but according to ex-commissioner Gordon, her father, Batgirl killed him. Will Barbara hang up her cape and cowl or will she push on? Will her final note be one of beauty, or a sour one?
In the aftermath of what happened with her brother, Barbara tries to resurrect old habits with her father. The problem with trying to enjoy an old tradition they used to share such as lunch together, turns into a pressure cooker that only exacerbates the problems. Daddy Gordon will not drop the issue of Barbara’s safety, and he rails on the evils of Batgirl. Barbara finally gets fed up and storms out after a few choice words.
Things get worse when Babs gets home to her boyfriend who turns up the domestic pressures with overtures of forever. Then in the Batcave she unloads all of her frustrations on the Bat-family (Batman, Nightwing and Robin).
She sets out alone to bash some criminal heads and clear her mind. Some of her internal monologuing really sets the stage for the soul searching she needs to do, but there comes just one problem….it doesn’t stop. The entire rest of Batgirl 50 revolves around her self whining and problems.
Batgirl 50 – The Note Gets Even More Sour
Had writers cut it off here, it would have been fine, but not only do they continue through the rest of the issue, Barbara gets political! Her new idea to solve the worlds problems is to become a political aid for Gotham’s Congresswoman. In and of itself this isn’t really bad, but the whining continues and at this point I was begging for it to stop.
But is that her final decision? Nope. Not only will she be a top aid, but she decides to continue being Batgirl. This seems to undercut everything she has been whining about throughout this whole issue. It comes across as an ‘I’ll have my cake and eat it too’ type moment.
Honestly, I am not real happy with this issue. Writers could have made a real statement and either reinforced Babs as Batgirl or had her walk off in another direction. Instead they tried to play it both ways and killed the story.
Batgirl 50 – Did You See Her?
There is one interesting addition to this issue. Did you see her? Do you know who ‘she’ is? Go to pages 8 and 9. Barbara gets into a verbal scuffle with a black, homeless girl she affectionately calls Ryan ‘I have so much potential for greatness’ Wilder. Does the name Ryan Wilder ring any bells? Did you note where Barbara states she was an avid reader and took Barbara’s coding classes? If you still do not know the name Ryan Wilder, tune into the CW this fall and watch Batwoman. The name will become known all too quickly.
This little addition also begs one question. Could an older Barbara Gordon show up in the show to be the new ‘Alfred’ or ‘Fox’?
Batgirl 50 – The Rest of the Story
After all that there are two quick shorts at the end. The problem is the first one just feels like a continuation of the whining of the main story. It goes on to whine about how Batgirl doesn’t have her own rogues gallery and is just some small subset of a larger group that overlooks her. It ends with her saying she needs to stay within her own world and her own baddies, but her title is ending!? Maybe she gets a reboot after the events of Future State, but for now it seems like a whiny waste.
The second short seems a bit better, but the first 80% is so whiny it feels like it is just a politically correct add-on. It’s girls night and Barbara and the fem-fatales of Gotham play a Dungeons & Dragons RPG. It tells a good story about how all the heroines need to learn to change their perspectives and not get locked into a single mode of thought to become better heroes. The problem comes from the rest of the issue. With all the whining that proceeds it, all that sticks out is the whining of the other heroines that they aren’t good enough or something is not fair. It distorts the better message that’s there.
I really hate to say this with it being Batgirl’s final issue for now (maybe), but this really is a skip unless you want to finish out your collection.