By Cat Wyatt
Issue #21 of Batgirl is more of a one-shot story than anything else, which works out well since the last plot has been fully wrapped up. This issue starts off ‘somewhere in Burnside’ where a redhead (not Barbara) is doing her nightly routine before bed. There’s a twist (of course, without a twist there’s no story), she’s trying a new cream tonight…one that has disastrous effects.
Upon applying the purple cream (which, ugh. A purple face mask I get, but a daily cream like that, no thank you!) a giant purple monster pops out of the drain and attacks this young woman. Now that I think about it, the monster pretty much looks like the purple version of Clayface. I know this isn’t the case of course, but I wonder if this guy was based on him?
The poor boyfriend got knocked out by the door when he rushed the bathroom upon hearing her scream. She’ll be fine, thankfully, but both will be living with some emotional trauma for quite a while. And of course, the boyfriend is concerned that the police will assume he’s the one that hurt her (‘it’s always the boyfriend’ and all that). I don’t blame him for being shaken up. He tried to help her and couldn’t, and if that wasn’t enough, he saw the monster that attacked him. Not that it’ll be easy to get anyone to believe him.
But Batgirl isn’t just anyone, is she? If anybody can get a traumatized guy to tell the truth about what he witnessed, it’s Batgirl. Between the information he provides, and the empty tube she found in the bathroom, she probably has more leads to follow than the police hanging around (not trying to sound harsh; they seem like they’re trying to wrap it up quickly).
The tube is labeled ‘Bio Glass’ which sounds like a pretty awful product to consider putting on your face (seriously; who would apply something with the word ‘glass’ in it to their face? I can’t stress the ‘no’ enough here). But hey, it may have a bad name, but it does leave a clear trail back to the company for her to follow.
Speaking of, apparently Barbara wasn’t the only one to put two and two together. Commissioner Gordon looked at the six similar cases he’s been dealing with, and found that the product was the only thing in common. So now he’s here, inside the facility with Batgirl. Not that they planned to meet up here (though apparently like father like daughter, kind of cute, right?).
The manufacturer for the weird goop is called Green Sun Biotech; a massive factory hidden behind its hippie/healthy branding (sounds about right). Inside Batgirl and the Commissioner find a lot of the purple goo inside, which makes sense, but it’s still super creepy (perhaps that my bias or phobia showing). Still, there’s more than enough of this junk around for them to get a sample to run (I’m assuming all the tubes at the crime scenes had been emptied out – plus a newer sample may tell them more).
Which leads them to Gotham Hospital; originally I thought they were there to run the sample collected to see what was in it, but rather they were comparing the sample collected against the victims. The goal was to ascertain whether or not any of it was still inside Claire (the redhead we saw earlier). Which is strange, considering we saw a chunk of it on her face, follow by her getting eaten (for lack of a better term) by the goo thing shortly after. So something should be on her – unless something else is going on here.
Could the goo thing be trying to collect every little bit of itself possible? That would explain the empty tubes at the crime scenes, as well as why there were no traces on any of the victims. There’s really only one way to test the theory though – pour some of the ‘beauty product’ down the drain and see if it pops up looking for more. Sounds pretty risky if you ask me.
Naturally the best place to do an experiment like this is in the showers of the police station. Big drain, plenty of security and more importantly backup should things go wrong (such as a failure to contain whatever appears). Granted, I think there’s an additional risk of having Batgirl in the police station, but thankfully Commissioner Gordon doesn’t seem interested into tricking Batgirl into an arrest or anything (sometimes I wonder if he suspects who she really is).
What follows is more or less a repeat of what we saw in the beginning; the product goes down the drain and a big purple monster appears. He does try and eat (or whatever it is he’s doing) Gordon, but since Batgirl is there things aren’t as bad for him as they could have been. Also, as it turns out bleach is shockingly effective on whatever this stuff is; it basically crystallizes the stuff on contact; which is really cool, but has me wondering about the chemical reaction that’s occurring there.
With the mystery solved; I can only assume Commissioner Gordon was going to go after Green Sun Biotech for whatever it is they’ve created. That really is a job for a commissioner, instead of for a vigilante. Still, I kind of wish we could have seen what sort of fallout happened from it.
What Gordon doesn’t know is that he just spent a wonderful night with solving crime with his vigilante daughter. Though I really do wonder how much he really knows – her hair and personality (not to mention her voice) are pretty distinctive, wouldn’t you think?
This was a pretty cute issue, on the whole. Batgirl got to spend the day with her father. Personally that would make me terrified that he’d figure out my secret, but I guess after years of those sorts of encounters she just got over that fear (I mean…if he hasn’t figured it out yet…). I would have liked to learn more about the purple monster, but that’s life I guess.
The artwork for this issue was pretty decent. The monster had texture and depth drawn in, and it also gave the impression that he was semitransparent, even when there wasn’t a person visible inside him. For some reason Batgirl’s expressions towards the end of the issue started looking a little funny; less detail on a longer face. I’m not sure what that was about.