Ever wondered what the son of The Penguin would be like? Perhaps not what you expect, but the rotten apple seldom falls far from the corrupt tree… Your Major Spoilers review of Batgirl #10 awaits!
Writer: Hope Larson
Penciler: Chris Wildgoose
Inker: Jon Lam
Colorist: Mat Lopes
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Editor: Mark Doyle
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Batgirl: “Son of the Penguin” part four! Ethan Cobblepot has shown his true colors: he’s a Penguin, through and through! Or is he? Can Batgirl turn his ambitions into a force for good-before he can turn Burnside against Batgirl?
I TOLD YOU SOCIAL MEDIA WAS EVIL!
As we open, Barbara Gordon is in a situation I can’t ever recall having seen any of the Bat-family in: Having crossed paths with The Penguin as Batgirl, she compares information with the felonious feathered fiend over a game of ping-pong. The information is damning: Penguin’s son, Ethan Cobblepot, also Barbara’s on-again/off-again boyfriend, has made moves to try and undermine his dad’s business in Gotham. The night before, three unrelated fights broke out to trash Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge, in the hopes of destroying Papa Pengy’s business. Batgirl confers with Commissioner Gordon (who is secretly HER dad) before getting dumped by Ethan’s intern. A number of unusual events follow, including a self-driving car crashing into the coffeehouse where she’s hanging with her friends, a late-night confab with an out-of-costume Nightwing, and most awful, the reveal of her collaboration with Penguin making its way to social media. As we fade to black, Ethan arrives at Penguin’s office to state his intentions: He’s forcing Papa Pengy out and taking over the Gotham underworld as… Blacksun!
TALKING TO YOUR DAD IN A MASK
There are a couple of really clever moments in this issue; Ethan’s use of social media to manipulate unrelated and unrelatable people into doing his bidding is quite clever, and it reminds me that I never want a self-driving car. There’s a little bit of quasi-romance, some nice friendly bonding, but there’s one scene that throws me out of the reality of the whole thing, as Batgirl stands inches away from her father to share information with the GCPD. I know it’s odd to quibble over such things in a world where the most famous superhuman in the universe puts on a pair of horn-rims to go incognito, but it really bugged me that Jim Gordon didn’t realize that Batgirl is the same size, hair-color and bearing as his daughter. Chack it up to a seriously Christian Bale voice, I guess. The art is lovely throughout, which is especially fun given that most of the issue features no Batgirl at all, just Barbara interacting with various friends and coworkers, and the reveal at the end is blocked out masterfully for a dramatic last-page reveal, complete with a perfectly rendered infuriated Penguin face.
THE BOTTOM LINE: GOOD SOLID ISSUE
In short, Batgirl #10 is a great middle-of-arc issue that gives you all the information you need to understand what’s going on without overt infodumps, manages to deliver drama and suspense without a lot of wedged-in fighty-fighty or melodramatic nonsense, and also looks lovely, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m happy to see Alysia and Dick Grayson in these pages, and I like that Ethan’s hi-tech gimmick doesn’t feel silly or out-and-out stupid, like so many “hacker geniuses” do, both of which enhance the entertainment value of my reading experience…