What in the in the hell did I just read? Like, I understand that comics should do their best not to take themselves too seriously every now and then, but this was just ridiculous. While Hope Larson’s run hasn’t been the most serious of comic lines, at least she’s always pulled the political and social criticisms to the forefront. I honestly didn’t see that in this issue. Perhaps it was a callout on the tenacity of certain groups like PETA or even to judging people or animals that become famous on social media like Instagram and Twitter. But in all honesty, it seems more like a callout to our own addiction to watching videos of animals doing hilarious or otherwise adorable things.
Either way, I spent this whole issue wondering to myself about what was going on. I keep waiting for this series to get better. That’s not to say it hasn’t had its moments, the last issue was actually a pretty fun read. With issues like this…I don’t know how to answer that question.
Speaking of the last issue, the last time we saw Batgirl she was investigating a supposed “haunting” in the Burnside Y. By investigating I mean she was there with a very hipster-like reality TV ghost hunting crew. By the end she offered the gone missing and rematerialized assistant to a paranormal professor a new job with Gordon Clean Energy.
This issue opens up with the young girl we met during the Son of the Penguin arc, Esme. She’s in an abandoned building holding her own against several gang-type teenagers with really no hope of actually accomplishing much. Of course, once Batgirl shows up the group decides they don’t really want a beat down so they scatter, and Esme gets an earful. At first I thought that she was after her own missing dog, but actually she’s searching for a celebrity dog that went missing. She then explains to Batgirl how the dog named Rookie gained his celebrity status after surviving a building fire.
Esme’s reaction to Batgirl guessing where she lived stood out. South Burnside is apparently a poor district, as her exclamation about looking poor suggests that only poor children come from that neighborhood. I guess we could red into this some kind of criticism about stereotyping where people choose to live or not live. Granted this is in no way Esme’s choice. In keeping up with the constant air of gentrification in Burnside, this is a very real reaction that some can have when they’re stereotyped by an influx of new and better situated residents.
Batgirl and Catwoman Team up
On their way back to Esme’s home, the two run into Catwoman with, surprise, a bunch of cats. We get a tiny little fight as Selina doesn’t realize who Batgirl is, but they find out that their investigations are one in the same. The difference with Catwoman is that it is personal, as the thieves stole her pet cat, Isis; seems that someone is not just stealing celebrity pets, but also aesthetically pleasing ones. Esme’s allergies lead the way as the cats smell of a certain pet perfume, and the trio follow the lead from a pet accessory shop to the perpetrators lair.
When they arrive, they find Rookie and Isis and an odd collection of leopard print furniture and clothing. This brings us back to classic Burnside villainess, Velvet Tiger…and her group of leopard print clad kitty ninjas. Yeah you heard that right. It was at this moment where I closed the comic for a minute, stared off into the distance and contemplated existence.
While the fight wasn’t completely terrible I lost all faith in it once the kitty ninjas where sent scurrying by a football chew toy that Batgirl tried to pull off as a grenade…and the fact that it actually worked to trick them. By the end of the comic everyone gets their pets back as a barrage of kidnapped dogs and cats stampede over Velvet Tiger. We get some surprising emotional characterization for Esme as well, who I sense we’ll be seeing more of from now on.
Inaki Miranda and Eva De La Cruz replace Eleonora Carlini as artists for this issue, which I was pretty sad to hear about as Carlini was one of the things holding me onto this comic. Yet, these two actually did a good job offering a vivid and well detailed comic. The lighting in the atmospheric sections and the pacing in the fighting scenes were well done. I do hope Carlini returns, but I can settle for these two good artists for now.
This was a pretty ridiculous comic and really came out of nowhere. I really don’t know how to feel about it so I’ll reserve my judgement for next month’s issue when Larson returns to writing full arcs again rather than these strange one shots. But again, the last one was decent, and I don’t know where she got the story inspiration for this one. I know this complaint is becoming a broken record, but things really need to get better for Batgirl.
Final Score: 5/10
Batgirl Rebirth #13 Credits
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Colors: Eva De La Cruz
Letters: Deron Bennett