Last month, we saw the introduction of a new villain named “Silver” who believed that the Bat-family were vampires and the city was just under some sort of hypnotic delusion that he, his attractive servant, and the Batman’s rogues gallery were impervious to. In fact, Silver thought the super-villains were actually freedom fighters trying to save Gotham from a supernatural plague. Oh yeah, and he also believed that a mute 6 year old girl was the Batman’s overlord. If you were with me until that last sentence, you’re not alone.
The surprise twist at the end of issue #28 along with the poor planning of our “vampire hunters” (they just sort of ran up on Barbara and Strix in the middle of the street at night– don’t ever attack vampires at night, at least not before you give finding their coffin the ol’ college try) did not leave me feeling very optimistic about today’s issue #29 and… yeah, it got worse. Much worse. But writer Gail Simone goes so far off the deep end with this installment that I’ll actually have fond memories of it because I loves me a B-movie.
Now, in the beginning it was just kind of mediocre and nothing out of the ordinary. We pick up exactly where we left off with the GCPD cornering Silver, his servant, Strix, and Barbara. There’s no way out…. At least until we bear witness to one of the greatest examples of GCPD ineptitude I’ve seen in some time. The cops tells the four of them to get on the ground now and that they have till a count of three or else they’ll be shot at/tasered/whatever. Thee cops are just about to say “Three” when Silver says “Wait.” (Gotham cops should REALLY not be so patient with suspects) and asks them to “Observe” as he lowers his hands, produces a straight razor, brings it to his own throat and threatens them to not shoot him or else he’ll cut his own throat. The police don’t put their guns down, thankfully, but they still do absolutely nothing as the perp cuts his own throat and then backflips–yeah, BACKFLIPS– onto a vehicle which generates machine guns despite the perp not saying a trigger word or pressing any control switch whatsoever. How did the guns pop out? Why did he slit his throat? It doesn’t matter because the officers still haven’t registered the fact that their suspect put his hands down after them specifically telling him not to.
As you can imagine, Silver gets away and we go back into typical superhero comics formula where we find his hideout and have a final confrontation there. However, before we can find the hideout we have to go through another scene that establishes the tension between Barbara and Strix regarding the no-kill-rule and it is… It is more comic than the police stand-off. The mute Strix shows a folded note to Babs saying “Promise” as if she’s promising not to kill the little girl’s kidnappers but then when Barbara turns her back Strix drops the paper and it’s revealed that the folded side of the note said “to kill.” Really? REALLY? It’s like something out of a Naked Gun movie at this point (by the way, all episodes of Police Squad are on Youtube.
Once we’re back at Silver’s mansion for the big throw-down it appears that we’re just going to go through the motions, ya know? Silver’s going to turn out to be a better fighter than we expected, his henchgirl is going to distract Barbara while Strix moves in for the kill on Silver, but then the little girl walks in just as Strix is about to slay and her little doe-eyes compel Strix to stay her hand. Bad guys go to the revolving door prison, the little girl goes home to her mother, and Strix and Barbara have their bond strengthened by the experience. Right? WRONG. It’s as if at this moment writer Gail Simone took a shot of something strong and said “**** it!” and wrote whatever absurd thing could possibly come to mind and I love her for it. From page 18 or 19 on I was wide awake. I even tossed the comic down in disbelief and laughed aloud. It’s bonkers and if you’re up for something like that then, sure, you’ll be in for a treat.
The artwork by Pasarin and Glapion is decent, but a bit stiff during the action sequences and all of the girls have about the same facial structure. There are some cool shots here and there in which we see Silver’s psychotic visions and that’s kind of fun, but overall it’s typical DC house-style. The lettering on the comic could’ve definitely used another look-through. Dezi Sienty goes back and forth on whether or not the little girl’s name is spelled “Cissy” or “chissy” and we have another misspelling later on when Barbara says “Your helper firend?” Again, rarely do the letterer’s ever get any attention until they make a mistake. Unsung heroes of comics, them. All text placement and emphasized balloons looked fine, by the way. Just those spelling mistakes. They were kind of obvious.
I explain the ending in the spoiler tags below for those who read this and are curious:
The little girl DOES turn out to be a vampire, Gail Simone decides to make this a crossover with a series that was canceled a year ago by having one of I,Vampire‘s main characters show up OUT OF NOWHERE, and then just as it seems like we’re still going to salvage a happy ending from the wreckage the little girl bursts into flames because she bit Silver and he ONLY drinks holy water. This really happened and the final panel has Babs and Strix looking just as confused as the reader has to be.
- I,Vampire is a canceled New 52 title you miss dearly
- The Babs/Strix dynamic is something you enjoy
- You like that “What the **** did I just read?” feeling
The conclusion to this 2-part filler storyline involving vampire hunters had me laughing my butt off. It’s both intentionally and unintentionally funny and for that I don’t know whether to give it a high score because it’s “so bad it’s good” or a poor score because it’s just so ridiculous and pointless. I’ll just give it a middle-of-the-road score. Buy it at your own risk.