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Subj: Batgirl #14
Posted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 10:26:54 pm EDT (Viewed 18 times)
The story starts off with a one-page splash. We're in the middle of the story. Close ups of Bats and Supes - the distaff side - with dialogue. The dialgoue is crisp, if nonsensical, in the context. The next page is another one-pager, we now see a black-and-white Dracula (tm) holding our two heroines.
Cut back to earlier that night, Steph is playing Scrabble with her mom on a Friday night. While mom is pleased with the face time, this says something sad about Steph. Alone with mom on a Friday night. Does not scream popularity. A knock on the door, Steph runs to answer it and we see Supergirl floating at the front door. Steph's mom shows up and in the time Steph turns her head to look at her mom and then turn it back to look at Supergirl, Kara has changed into her Clarkess Kent disguise.
The two girls go out. There is some cute banter. We learn Kara knows about college life via comedies. So it's either pillow fight or kegger. Kara's psyched for a night out with a fellow blonde teen heroine. The other 47 DC characters that fit that description were apparently busy that night, so it's Steph and Kara.
They end up at a 3D revival of a cheesy vampire movie. Meanwhile back at the ranch, some geeky guy guy is saying the University can't close down his experiment. Lights flash and somewhere a baby screams. At the theater the cheesy vampire dialogue about being alone amuses the crowd in a kitsch fashion, but for Steph and Kara the dialogue has a different meaning. Being alone isn't funny.
Suddenly a bunch of Dracs jump off the screen, Kara rips open her shirt, she guaranteeing it will never be worn outside a punk rock concert. Steph doesn't do the costume under the clothes things and assures Kara that her bra doesn't have bats on them. My mind wanders for a minute. We cut to a b&w Drac, he's about to attack a necking couple (too on the nose?) Kara attacks, Drac counters, and actually throws Kara for a loop. Steph as Batgirl shows up and green gloops the Drac.
Maniac science boy somehow makes it there, and speaks exposition while Kara notes the vamp is "empty." Turns out he's hard light produced by the kaboom ealier referenced. He gives the two ladies "control rods that should be able to destabilize the Draculas' photo matrices."
Basically, Steph points out, they stake the vamps with is magic glows sticks. He says if you want to go all "nerd", then yes.
We next see a series of panels as the 7 evil exes of Scott Pilgrim, I mean the 24 Dracs are staked by our two heroines. They get to the last Drac, they're sneaking up behind him while he's monologing, suddening,he's behind them, he grabs them, now we're caught up with the first page. Steph says he's on a "loop" and heads back to go, the girls are released, the Drac is staked.
We cut to Steph's house and are witness to the aftermath of a pillow fight, feathers flying in the air. My mind wanders again.
Steph and Kara say they should actually, you know, communicate with each other. Being alone doesn't mean having to stay alone. They pinky swear (I'm not making that part up) to be BFFs. Steph thanks God that that Kara's pinky didn't snap hers like a twig.
What I thought - this was a frustrating issue. There was a great idea behind the story. The plot had a goofiness that was charming. The notions that Steph and Kara are lonely, that their lives for various reasons isolate them make sense. The plot was well-thought out. The art was pretty good, but there times I had difficulty telling Steph and Kara apart while they were dressed as civilians. This weakness, artists drawing women with the same body and face types isn't unique to this book, but still come on guys.
Where the issue falls down is the execution. This was a fast read, too fast. We do learn something about both characters, they're lonely. Steph is hanging out with mom on Friday. I'm a big nerd, but even I had something to do at college on Friday nights. This insight works well, unlike the ping pong game of last month. Then we just see Steph play a game of ping pong. We don't learn anything about her status or what the others think of her. Here we do learn. So good for Miller. I like to give points for the good stuff, so when I point out the bad, I at least can feel fair.
The action was lacking. Panel after panel of staking equals dull. The issue would have been better seeing these two work together, trying to figure out how to beat the anomoly. Seeing them think and reason and fight, that would have been better. A definite case of quantity vs. quality.
Also, they need to show us stuff, not tell us. For example, the joke of Steph not wearing her suit under her civies. Funny and it makes sense. For a while bat clothes have been armored. Christian Bale's latest suit reminded me of Jim Aparo's Bats. Lean and Linear, but he couldn't have worn them under his $5,000 suits. So where did Steph go and get her suit? We don't see. It could have been funny watching her race to her car to get the suit while Kara unexpectedly gets pummeled.
Also, in order for the stories to work you need to pay extra special attention to the details. It's a little too deus ex machina to make Kara vulnerable to the Dracs. Plus, as witnessed with her quick change, her speed is an asset that's difficult to overcome. Plus, the loop thing. What?!?!? The girls don't escape so much as get saved by a plot loop hole that doesn't make any sense.
Also, the fat, dirty scientist saying "if you want to nerd it up"? Come on, that guy's a total nerd. He'd love nerding it up. Sorry Garbett draws them, I call them like I see them.
This issue wasn't so much bad as frustrating. A lot of good ideas mixed up with poor execution. Things like having Kara come to Steph's front door dressed and floating as Supergirl. Not a subtle thing. It's done for the sake of the quick-change gag. A nice joke, but at the expense of logic. Kara's appearance should raise questions, potentially. If a neighbor sees her, trouble with a capital Trub. Stuff like that can add up. Plus, giving away two pages of valuable story at the beginning. Again, this is my peeve about pacing in today's modern day comics. It's interesting action with small does of character development. Word and thought balloons are your friends. Don't be afraid. I also found the reaction of the two girls to the crowd's reaction to cheesy vamp dialogue to be awkward. Miller was trying to shoe horn in something, but the execution, again, doesn't work.
Or I could be wrong.
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