Clarifying My Issues With Batgirl #22 – An Opinionated Rant
Okay, had some time to chillax, refocus my thoughts a bit, so now I think I’m ready to talk about Batgirl #22 a bit more, specifically what got me so angry. First off, I should clarify that I don’t hate this issue, and I believe that Batgirl is still one of the better books out there right now, same as Gail Simone is one of the better writers. My problem is directed solely at the current depiction of Commissioner James Gordon within said series, which has pretty much come to a boiling point at the climax of this issue, and as I understand it may only be getting worse in the next few issues, which I may be forced to skip. Secondly, I should note that all of this is strictly opinion based, hence why I noted this is an opinionated rant (please don’t hurt me, SF Debris), and of course everyone is free to have their own opinion. That was actually a mistake I made earlier, criticizing someone who really liked the scene in this book I despise so, and for that, I apologize. With that said, let’s dive in.
Now, first and foremost, let’s go over the scene at the end, which yes, DOES have some good to it. Oddly enough, it’s the depiction of Batman, who is actually in the midst of going cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs in Batman and Robin over the death of his own son. Anyway, Jim Gordon hits the Bat Signal to bring out Batman, who tells Gordon that he’s sorry to hear about his son. Jim thinks he isn’t entirely sincere though, and gets straight to the point: He wants Batman to help him find Batgirl. Batman asks if he’s certain he’s thought this through, so Jim takes that as a no, tells Batman to stay out of his way, then punches him while berating him for letting Batgirl follow in his footsteps, as if to say that all of this (the death of his boy, Batgirl becoming who she is, etc.) is Batman’s fault. Batman doesn’t deny this accusation (even though he REALLY should) and tells Gordon, and I quote, “You’ve always been about justice, Commissioner. Never revenge. Be careful what road you walk. For everyone’s sake”. And Batman leaves while Gordon shuts off the Bat Signal, clearly intending to continue down this path…Plus, I know this for a fact because I’ve seen solicits for DC Comics all the way till October, so I know this is the next story arc.
If you didn’t pick out what was wrong with all that…well, let’s just go over the list.
- While it’s not as if I’ve never seen someone fly off on a tangent about how Batman ruined someone’s life, usually it’s by one of the villains. Hell, he even looks like a complete psycho when he’s ranting and raving at Batman.
- How bad is it that the Dark frigging Knight, who recently lost his son to a minion of said son’s evil mother, is now able to look a man who lost his psychotic murderer son in the eye and say “You’re going too far” and be 100% correct?! O_O
- I would just like to point out that Batman never actually said he wouldn’t help Jim Gordon. I’m looking at this scene in the comic right now as I’m typing, and his exact words are “…Jim, are you certain you’ve thought this through?” He never said no, Gordon! Now, would he have said no anyway? Possibly. But the point still stands: You jumped the gun.
- Gordon’s kinda got his issues a little mixed, doesn’t he? Does he want to bring down Batgirl, or does he feel bad for her because following Batman’s example led her down a bad path?
- While the argument can be made that Batman didn’t try to stop Batgirl from being a heroine, we’ve seen how well that works. Let’s be honest: Barbara Gordon would’ve become a heroine whether Batman ‘let her’ or not.
Now, let’s go beyond this one scene, because as I said before, I’ve already gotten a little bit sick of this. In other words, this has been building for a couple of issues now. What has he done thus far? Well, he shot at Batgirl after he saw what had happened, he refuses to let anyone try to talk him down from his rage, he completely ignores the fact that his son is a psychotic killer, and he overlooks the fact that Batgirl did what she did to save his ex-wife! And there’s no way he couldn’t have known that!
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s look back to Batgirl #19. Jim Gordon gets a call from his son telling him to come meet him at a place where he promises to give his father nightmares for the rest of his life. He gets there, he sees Batgirl with Barbara Sr., both of them crying and upset, and James Jr. having fallen off the pier into the rocks below. He doesn’t ask questions or anything, and based on the artwork, it suggests that he arrived by sea, since he’s approaching from the end of the pier. If he was close enough to see Batgirl get James in the eye with a Batarang, he was close enough to see that his ex-wife was held hostage with a knife. Are we meant to assume he doesn’t care?
Oh, speaking of whom, I’m not letting Barbara Sr. off the hook either. She set the trap for James and tried to kill him, which I guess I understand if nothing else, but then she gets caught again, and when James Jr. is seemingly killed by Batgirl to save her (James isn’t dead, btw, he’s very much alive in Suicide Squad), she never tells Jim the truth! She doesn’t tell him that Babs is Batgirl and that, at the last moment, Babs tried to save James, or to stop hunting Babs because all of it was her own fault! No, she just says she didn’t see anything, packs up, and leaves!
Am I supposed to feel sorry for either of these two people? Because honestly, at this point, I HATE them. And if we’re gonna play it straight, this really IS their fault. Not to make excuses for James Jr., but he DID grow up to be who he is because he felt overshadowed by his sister, something that neither of his parents EVER picked up on or tried to talk to him about. The way they’re handling this current situation screams of negligence and hypocrisy, especially when one of Gordon’s cops had a similar situation with Batgirl early in the series and wisely decided to keep said cop away from her until it was necessary. And now, Gordon’s treating it like Batgirl deliberately murdered his son just because he was a villain, and he never considers the truth behind what happened? And now for at LEAST two issues, he’s gonna be hunting Batgirl, who is contemplating retirement from the role. The only way that ANY of this winds up working is if Jim Gordon becomes a villain, and even then, I’m not so sure I wanna see that.
…But, when it’s all said and done, I guess I can’t blame Gail Simone. Not really. I think what’s happened is that, while trying to tell a dark and edgy story, she made an error along the way because she was too focused on keeping it dark and edgy. If that approach sounds familiar, it’s only because that’s what a lot of writers are doing nowadays. And, believe it or not, I don’t have a problem with dark stories. I have a problem with said dark and edginess overriding common sense, and it seems to be SPREADING to the point where everybody’s doing it……Speaking of which, I should make a mental note to have a VERY scathing rant regarding Justice League #22 typed up sometime this week. lol
Anyway, I hope I’ve made my point clear by this point. As always, feel free to comment below, leave your own thoughts, agree/disagree with me, whatever. Ja né!
- What I Bought Today – Batman #22, Superman Unchained #2, Nightwing #22, Batgirl #22, Fearless Defenders #6 (WARNING – SPOILERS) (jygersrant.wordpress.com)
- Comic Preview Tuesday (geekleak.net)
- Comic Releases for July 10, 2013 (comicbooked.com)
- Exclusive Preview: BATGIRL #22 (comicvine.com)
Posted on July 10, 2013, in Comic Books and tagged Barbara Gordon, Barbara Gordon Sr, Bat Signal, Batgirl, Batman, Cocoa Puffs, DC Comics, Gail Simone, James Gordon, James Gordon Jr, New 52, Opinionated, Rant. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.