Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
I don’t say this often, but no Taiwanese lady-boys were needed to get this guy salivating over BATGIRL 19. I refer of course to lame stream media’s fervor of activity over the reveal that Babs’ roommate tucks before he/she slips on his/her panties/boxers. And before anyone asks, this was not the intended WTF moment from the gatefold cover – you don’t slide it open to see Babs’ kicking in the teeth of the “To Wong Fu” cast. Before I praise this book, I just had to lament the mores in states sans coastlines are about as progressive as an episode of Leave it to Beaver, and that 99% of the world still simply does not get the comic medium.
Don’t let my rampant immaturity give you the wrong impression; Simone used her usual grace and eloquence to broach the issue of Babs’ double-life and her roommate’s as well. It was sweet and endearing moment between two friends. Babs opened the kimono half-way to tell her BFF what the Joker had done to her in the past, without giving away the whole store if you get my drift. Likewise, her friend shared the fact that her clitoris isn’t some engorged appendage mutated like in a bad Ed Wood movie. This was about one and a half pages of the book. So next time you meet someone from the associated press please spit in their face and punch them directly in their transgender please.
This was one of the few WTF gate-fold books that provided an honest to God whollup of WTF. Of course nothing is really WTF these days thanks to the spoiler likes of…well…people like me, but still the execution can still deliver a gut punch even the concept leaks months ahead of time. How do I know? Because Simone did it in spades for this book.
I’m a sucker for James Gordon Jr., I have been since Snyder was crafting this little “freak on no leash” way back in pre-52 DETECTIVE. He’s not just creepy, he’s a level of insanity that I would say puts him on Joker level creepy. This guy relishes in the pain of others, but does it without an ounce of joy. He’s a new level of calculated killer that would have never enticed a silver age audience, but resonates fine and dandy in this new dark world we all live in. Simone does a great job reintroducing James’ particular brand of nutty by having Babs reflect on a moment in childhood when they would watch horror movies together. James doesn’t look away from the screen out of fear, but out of shame for the killer’s slasher sloppiness….Brilliant! Since then James was nuthin but trouble for the Gordon clan, culminating into his now outright vendetta against the family Gordon.
The true WTF moment asks whether Barbara will unleash the ultimate solution to stop JJ’s reign of dy-no-mite terror. She doesn’t do the deed, but someone else does and it TRULY was a WTF moment. I’ll also say it wasn’t Commissioner Gordon either. Of course the door is left somewhat open as to whether James is actually dead, but ta the very least this oedipal wound is sure to sting for a bit. Palpable danger is set in place for next issue as Gotham PD witnesses this righteous murder from afar and makes the assumption that Babs is the culprit.
Simone is meant for this book, and I hope any future scuttlebutt about her leaving or jumping ship remains simply in the land of conjecture instead of sour grapes.