Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Who Loves You Babsy?

Barbara Gordon? She's awesome.

She's always been awesome. Back when she was a plucky teen dressing up in that purple and yellow version of the batsuit that inspired a million slutty halloween costumes? She was awesome. After being shot in the spine by the Joker and consigned to a wheelchair and a life of the super-heroic version of the Microsoft helpdesk? She was still awesome. From her days as the cutest of Bat-sidekicks, to her badass re-appearance in John Ostrander's fantastic Suicide Squad to getting into hijinks with her gal-pals in Birds Of Prey one thing about Babs has been constant....you guessed it - - being awesome!

You know who else is awesome? The Joker.

He's Gotham's clown prince of crime, thoroughly insane, wildly unpredictable, he makes up funny nicknames for people like 'Batsy' and sometimes...just sometimes...he has the voice of Luke frickin' Skywalker. With a resume like that, dude can't help but be awesome. Plus this one time he shot Barbara Gordon in the spine - which while sad and tragic was still totally awesome.

Put them together and what have you got?

No, not bippety boppety boo smart-ass you've got Birds Or Prey #124 (you also get Alan Moore's the Killing Joke but I couldn't think of as many funny things to say about it so we're talking about this one). Might this issue, by any chance, be awesome? You betcha!

We join this issue with all the Birds busy fighting a bunch of dodgy new villains called things like Visionary and Gizmo except Babs. She, as ever, is monitoring things back in their Platinum Flats HQ. Then an old friend she hasn't seen since getting crippled in her daddy's living room pays a visit.

At first I thought this long anticipated rematch was going to be a bit of a let down. You had the Joker throwing knives and trying to pop a cap in her ass while Babs bobbed and weaved with her patented wheelchair-fu.That's cool and all but this is the rematch of the century. We want something more than your standard super-hero throwdown. We want some fireworks! We want squirty flowers and explosive whoopee cushions! We want something unexpected, something unpredictable, something surprising that will knock our socks off.

Weren't you listening earlier people? This is Babs 'Batgirl' Gordon we're talking about. Being shot in the spine doesn't stop this girl from being awesome. You think she's going to let her loyal fans down when it comes to kicking some purple-suited clown ass? I don't think so. Observe:
Four out of five dentists agree that Trident isn't gonna do shit to help that.

That's right folks. There's only one way to get your righteous revenge on the jerk who shot you in the spine consigning you to a wheelchair for life and making you pass on your foxy Batgirl suit to a string of angsty young hoes who insist on leathering it up like they're Suzi freaking Quatro. You gotta bust up that dude's smile.

In all seriousness though if you're the Joker your pearly whites are your bread and butter. Without them you're just some dude in a purple suit in dire need of a sunbed. Brand recognition is very important in the super-villain business. You don't want to commit the criminal masterstroke of your career and have it mistakenly credited to the Rainbow Raider of the B'wana Beast!

Besides which, dude is the Joker. He can't go back to his super-villain buddies and tell him he went out like a punk in a fight with a chick in a wheelchair. He's got a rep to protect. He's got to do something horrible and unpredictable to reestablish his cred as top dog among the villain set:
Watch out for that first step

Hitting a chick in a wheelchair with a plant then flinging her down a flight of stairs will do the job nicely. Smile or no smile that is about as Jokery as you get. I mean not even Lex Luthor has the balls to sling the disabled down some stairs.

It's just so good. It's an excellent battle (and that's high praise considering this issue also boasts Misfit and Huntress throwing down with a giant robot named Killg%re). Both characters get some measure of satisfaction and come out the other side with their awesome intact.

Poor Birds Of Prey got canned by those boneheads at DC a scant three issues later. No more Oracle, no more Misfit, no more Lady Blackhawk, no more clown-improvised stairlifts. Where will all the fishnetted super-heroines find a home now?

It sucks so bad it makes us sad.
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