Monday, March 30, 2015

Secret Origins #10 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

This issue really shouldn't be in "Secret Origins."  Seriously.  You can't be a loyal reader of "Batgirl" and miss this story.  The Firestorm and Poison Ivy stories really just cover ground that we've seen covered elsewhere, but the Batgirl story directly relates to the ongoing story that Fletcher and Stewart are telling in "Batgirl."

First, we learn how Babs met Frankie.  Initially, I didn't question how Babs suddenly had all these new friends when the re-launch started.  I've read comics long enough not to question those sorts of details.  You just sort of fill in the background story on your own.  I figured that she put an add on Craigslist and found Frankie.  Here, we learn that they actually met in the lobby of the medical center that restored Barbara's ability to walk.  So far, Fletcher and Stewart have only shown us glimpses of Frankie's problems walking; it wasn't until she appeared on crutches a few issues ago that we even heard about it.  Here, we learn that she has muscular dystrophy; we're left to draw the conclusion that the doctors were less successful treating her than they were Babs.

But, we also learn that it's the scan that the doctors were taking of Barbara's brain on the day that she met Frankie that serves as the basis for the anti-crime algorithm that she wrote.  In fact, we're really not reading about the secret origin of Batgirl; we're reading about the secret origin of the algorithm.  As far as I can piece it together, the algorithm (or, I guess, the Algorithm) encounters a second brain-scan taken at a later date or Barbara's own consciousness, full of events that she doesn't recognize (like Babs' friendship with Alicia or her fight with the Joker during "Death of the Family").  She comes to feel like someone stole her body and the rest, as we know, is history.

With all these revelations, it's easy to miss the fact that the original intent of the algorithm is to re-write Babs' nervous system.  It put out there the possibility that someone (like the Algorithm) would be capable of not only denying Babs her ability to walk but also taking over her entire body.  Talk about fertile ground for drama.

The best part of this story is that Fletcher and Stewart really focus on the story itself.  Whereas the other two stories have pretty weak framing devices, I was definitely surprised when, suddenly, at the end, we learn that we had been watching the Algorithm's awakening the whole time.  Again, if you're a "Batgirl" fan, you can't miss this issue.

*** (three of five stars)

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