The awesomeness of the Batladies

Batgirl: The Flood by Bryan Q. Miller, Lee Garbett and Pere Perez

So since my library has kind of run out of Batman books for me to read, I was kind of forced to look elsewhere for my batgiggles (Amazon and Batgirl).

Here is the important background (or what I’ve gathered is the important background by Googling “Batgirl”).

The original Batgirl is Barbara but she was forced to give that all up when she was paralyzed  by the Joker. Apparently there was a lot of feminist backlash about this since comic books almost always feature superhero women having 1) really stupid powers, 2) dying or 3) becoming unempowered in some other way.  I’m not disagreeing with these statements. But I do kind of disagree with the idea that Barbara was unempowered. Sure, she couldn’t be Batgirl anymore because she couldn’t jump off any buildings or anything but instead of just taking it she became Oracle, the information broker and hacker who works with Batman and Co, started her own group of superheroes (The Birds of Prey) and works closely with the current Batgirl – Stephanie Brown. If we look at power purely as the ability to hit stuff, Barbara was seriously unempowered for the soul reason of character development for her father, but if we look at it as the ability to be awesome, I’d stay she’s still pretty freakin’ epic.

Which is why I’m a little disappointed that Barbara recently got better. But I guess she was filling two token positions at once, by being both female and physically disabled. Still she was really awesome as Oracle.

Anyway, it could be worse – Proxy is physically disabled, a female and not white. She’s filling 3 token minority positions.

Aside from the obvious problems that most/all superhero comics seem to insist on reinforcing, this story was super fun. Stephanie Brown, who was a hero named Spoiler for a while and had a relationship with Tim Drake, is now wearing the unnecessarily sexy Batgirl suit (and you can tell she’s being drawn by a man because any woman alive would tell you, when you’re fighting crime you really don’t need your hair EVERYWHERE. Even if it does make you look sexy). She’s also a college student living with her mom and genuinely adorable.

There are a few stories in this book, starting with the most intelligent to dumbest (an  undead, unimprisoned enemy of Oracle is coming after her, Clayface is robbing a bank, Draculas step out of a movie screen and start eating people  – I told you the last one was kind of dumb).  Unlike Batman stories, which tend to be driven by the mystery surrounding his various cases these stories are more or less designed to showcase and/or develop relationships (again, I don’t know what that says about gender perceptions, but I’m a girl and relationships are pretty important to me so maybe it’s not just based on a bunch of dudes being sexist). The first one was really about Oracle and Batgirl and how close they are – it’s important that they aren’t rivals, they are friends and the introduction of Proxy. The Clayface bank robbery story shows the budding relationship between Batgirl and the dashing Detective Gage. The last one is just a silly fluffy thing in which Supergirl and Batgirl bond. That’s nice I suppose.

The one going joke that I absolutely love the most is how both Oracle and Batgirl monologue out loud, sometimes thoughts that they probably shouldn’t. Hilarious.

In conclusion – no one’s kidding – these are nowhere near as complex as many of the Batman stories. But they are kind of awesome.

Last movie I watched: Still none.

Last TV episode I watched: Merlin. They finally cured Gwen of her Stockholm syndrome so that was nice. Wouldn’t it be cool if mental illness could actually be fixed by wandering into a lake?


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