This issue wastes no time throwing the reader into high-stakes circumstances as we see the glamorous BGirl team rampaging through Burnside after a successful robbery, flaunting their stolen goods, and harassing the locals. It’s probably a surprise to no one that the sparkly Batgirl who has joined these bad BGirls is just a Barbara lookalike–the same one who has been causing trouble since the previous issue. When the real Batgirl puts an EMP damper on the girls’ night out, she manages to bust the ring, but the imposter gets away. Who’s this glamhound out to destroy Batgirl’s reputation? “Double Exposure” won’t give you all the answers, but it offers up some fun questions in the process.
This is definitely a way to get your attention on page one!
Babs, Dinah, Alysia and Frankie go to the gallery showing of Dagger Type whose apparently rock-star famous. The whole exhibit is images of fake Batgirl in various glamorous poses. Maybe how you personally feel about the new Batgirl can be analyzed based on each character’s reaction. Alysia’s just there for the open bar, Frankie is ga-ga for it, Babs is embarrassed, and Dinah thinks it the most absurd thing ever. A sobering moment with the reveal of a photograph entitled “Vulnerability” keeps the plot from feeling too frivolous, however.
The gallery business is some of the best of the book
Batgirl puzzles out how to find Dagger Type and picks up clues that bring her face to face with her mirror-image nemesis. Once again, I like the detective work in this best of all. This is a pretty dense story so stuff has to move fast. Still, if you pay attention, the identity of the doppleganger is obvious. Babs Tarr gives us at least one very distinct clue in the opening scene (and let’s face it: how many options do we have at this point?).
Tarr’s work on art duties is fabulous as usual and Maris Wicks on colors complements the style very well (with a nice variety, I should add; from the day-glow opening through the scintillating conclusion). Cameron Stewart is still doing breakdowns, but there’s nothing particularly stand-out in the compositions this go-round; it’s all pretty standard fare. Stewart’s cover, however, is quite awesome in all of its discotheque glory.
I feel like I missed an issue between no. 36 and no. 37 in which Frankie ended up on crutches and Batgirl and Qadir became midnight besties and Batgirl became “famous”. And if she is, how does Babs not know about the Dagger Type show (it looks like the event of the century). Anyway: all of these things are told to us, but I honestly don’t recall seeing any of them actually happen. Also, why are Alysia and Frankie at the gallery when they don’t really serve any purpose there. Same with Nadimah and Jeremy (are we just being reminded that they exist?). At least Dinah can justify attending since they are technically scoping out Dagger Type, but then she doesn’t go with Babs later to the “unveiling”. I don’t know: I’m having a hard time making sense of some of the leaps.
The use of social media here was generally good, though the tweeting inside the gallery was weird (again, not sure why Frankie’s even there).
Later, Babs tackles Dagger Type and temporarily blinds him (which was foreshadowed to happen way at the beginning). He can’t see her, but recognizes her voice. Another case of: how does he not know who she is without the mask?
Then Babs flirts with a cop (totally random inappropriate moment; is there any guy she hasn’t flirted with at this point?). This in the aftermath of an active shooter situation in the theater, no less. The villain got five rounds off into a crowded audience. Surely he hit someone. Is Babs so self-absorbed and this cop so dumb that their biggest concern in the moment is for exchanging niceties? The story wraps up in Scooby-Doo fashion as they cart the bad guy away in cuffs. This has got to be the least believable set of behaviors we’ve seen in this series so far.
Qadir is manufacturing all of Batgirl’s tech (including her cowls now). I’m glad to know that college students are the go-to people for spy-tech, but I’m going to give this a pass since it’s possible, even if implausible. More disconcerting is that I don’t know that I feel like this relationship developed organically. That said, I like it. To be honest, I still feel like it’s a bit of tokenism (why are all the people behind the scenes ethnic minorities?), but I also don’t know how to solve that problem until we have more mainstream minority superheroes, so I’ll just leave that there like a dead fish offering to the principalities of representative equality. More importantly, I’d like to see more of this character in the daylight. I wonder if he’ll have a deeper relationship with Barbara in the long run? What are your thoughts on Qadir?
- You feel like performance art is pretentious and want to see it soundly mocked.
- You like a little Bowie-esque glam with your superhero stories
- You enjoy watching Dinah be snarky (and out of fishnets!).
I feel a lot like Dinah at the end of this issue in the scene where Batgirl is asking her to take a promotional photo with her phone. The look on Dinah’s face is priceless and sums up my frustration with this series: it’s got everything going for it, but it’s just not coming together for me. I don’t hate this by any means and it was an entertaining read, but I do feel like Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher’s writing is uneven and there’s too much happening that seems irrelevant to the main action and not amounting to much as supporting underpinnings either. This story arc is not over, however: we still don’t know who’s behind this stalking nightmare, so there’s still a chance that the story will redeem itself.