Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Batgirl #43 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

This issue starts a new arc for Babs, but it also feels like old-home week.  Alysia and Jeremy make appearances, though it's not exactly good news.

Someone is letting tigers loose at night in tech offices in Burnside, leaving behind dead techies working the night shift.  Random, yes?  The first victim is at Luke Fox's new firm, Foxtek, and Babs heads there to offer a hand.  A scan of the biometric device reveals that Qadir is the one that let in the tiger, but Qadir is eavesdropping and denies it.  (He also hears Batgirl flirt with Luke, something that upsets him.)  Babs returns to school, where she runs into a grumpy Jeremy.  Nadimah tells her that it's because his awful ex-girlfriend is in town, but we don't learn more because reports hit the wires that a second victim has been found at Vitasoft.  Babs goes there, only to discover Frankie already on the scene.  Frankie lets Babs know that another former Burnside College student opened the door, just like Qadir.  Babs again tells her that it's not safe for her to be in the "field," and they part on not great terms.  That night, Babs ditches Alysia as she's trying on wedding dresses after an algorithm that she designed suggests the next victim.  Babs is able to stop the tiger and save the woman.  Later, Frankie tells Babs that Jeremy is the only person with connections to all three victims and would-be victims, but a disbelieving Babs refuses to hear more.  Frankie takes action in her own hands, steals Babs' cowl, and meets Qadir in a dark alley dressed entirely in black leather.  She convinces Qadir that she works with Batgirl and asks him to design a specific device to help ID the real culprits.  Meanwhile, Alysia's fianc√©e Jo goes to a location where she's been hiding the tigers; she and their activist group liberated them before they got sold to a private zoo.  However, Jo is panicked when she realizes that someone is using the tigers for the attacks.  Before she can move them, she's attacked by a woman dressed like a tiger.

Wow.  Just writing that summary made me realize what a layered story Fletcher and Stewart are telling.  For me, the most interesting part is Frankie's fascination with helping Babs in the field.  The authors are playing it close to their chest whether Babs is trying to protect Frankie because of her disability or for some other reason; it would certainly seem hypocritical if it were the former.  But, that said, Babs also had years of training as Batgirl under her belt before she had to adapt to fighting in a wheelchair, so she's not exactly wrong to be worried that Frankie might get herself hurt.  It certainly doesn't bode well for Frankie (or their friendship) if she insists on putting herself out there.  Moreover, we also have the Jeremy problem.  Hopefully, it's his ex-girlfriend behind the attacks, but you never know.  Fletcher and Stewart would really up the realism if he were actually to become a bad guy.  After all, simply because Babs was interested in him doesn't mean that he doesn't have a dark side.  She also has Luke now, so Jeremy's totally disposable.  (Too soon?)

*** (three of five stars)

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