By Cat Wyatt
After wrapping up the last plot, Batgirl #24 is off to another plot, this one being more of a one-shot plot. The cover and title do a great job of indicating who we’ll be up against this issue; Two-Faces Game of Chance Gets Ugly. Sort of gives you an idea, right?
Before we go on to the actual issue, you should take a minute and check out the alternate cover for this issue. Conveniently it’s also the second page, so if you pick up a copy, it doesn’t take much searching to find it. It’s absolutely striking. It’s a split image, clearly an homage to Harvey, with Batgirl on the left and a skeleton on the right. It’s oddly reminiscent of a classic tarot deck style and is overall wonderfully balanced.
This issue starts out like any typical night for Batgirl. She’s on the prowl and easily finds a group of guys looking to create some trouble. Granted, it probably isn’t common that she gets mistaken for Batman, so at least that will make the night memorable, right? Plus it ends in a motorcycle chase, which sounds like all sorts of fun. So overall a pretty good night for Batgirl.
However, now that the fun is out of the way, it’s time to deal with the real business. A friend of Barbara, who happens to know her little secret, is very concerned about a mutual acquaintance they both have. He’s a kid they both knew from school, Jacob Cesaro. Apparently, he’s been coming by the hospital with alarming frequency, and each time he’s shown up beat to hell. And considering the crowd that’s been dropping him off…well, let’s just say that it doesn’t look good.
In fact, what it looks like is that Jacob has gotten himself wrapped up in a bad crowd and that there’s a very good chance that Batgirl is going to have to save him from the situation. Good thing he’s got friends that can report it to her, right?
It’s probably important to know that there’s a very good reason that Barbara fells particularly compelled to take care of Jacob. You see, he’s what she could have been, had things not gone so well for her. Both of their dads were on the police force, so they grew up with the same worries. They never knew if their dad was going to come home after a hard day’s work. And then one day, Jacob’s dad didn’t come home. He was killed in action – likely by one of the many villains in Gotham. So that’s why Barbara feels extra protective of the kid. She knows very well that it could have been her that lost her dad; that as long as her dad is on active duty it could still be her. That creates a bond that can’t be ignored, especially by somebody like her.
It’s not terribly hard to track down Jacob; the kid may be brilliant, but he’s lacking a certain level of street smarts. He never even notices her taking out the bad guys behind him with each step he takes. He certainly never noticed that she was following him, not even when she entered the Server Farm Building behind him. We can argue that he was too distracted by the job at hand, whatever that is. But let’s be honest here. Batgirl is good at what she does, and this kid is clearly new to…whatever this is.
When Batgirl reaches the room Jacob is in, she finds him in a sparsely furnished room. Seriously, you’d expect more for a tech building like this, but whatever. There’s a single desk with a computer setup, but little else. Unfortunately Jacob isn’t alone. Even worse, Batgirl doesn’t catch on to the warning in his voice until it’s too late.
You see the other people in the room? You guessed it – Two-Face and some of his goons. Batgirl describes him eloquently: half as crazy as the Joker, but perhaps twice as dangerous. Fairly accurate, all things considered. Where the Joker will throw himself body and soul into his plans, Two-Face maintains a colder and more calculated hold on himself. There are plenty of arguments to be made for which personality type is more dangerous, but the truth of the matter is you likely wouldn’t want to be snuck up on by either of them.
Here’s where things get a little interesting. Not terribly surprising, really. What is surprising though, is who ends up with the upper hand here. It’s Jacob. Seriously. Apparently nobody was expecting him to make an aggressive move, because he managed to knock out and tie up both Batgirl and Two-Face. No idea what happened to the other goons, but who cares.
Remember a little earlier, when we were talking about Jacob and his deceased police father? Well…turns out it was a villain that took the poor guy out. A specific one too. One who happens to be tied up as we speak…yeah. Two-Face had Jacob’s father killed. He walked in on something he shouldn’t have, and you know how Two-Face feels about witnesses. He never stood a chance.
Jacob, naturally, holds a grudge against Two-Face, which actually is pretty understandable and forgivable. What isn’t okay is the fact that Jacob is willing to let the city pay for Two-Face’s actions. This is where revenge really takes its toll – you get so wrapped up in your bloodlust that you lose sight over what’s important. Jacob’s dad was a police officer. There’s no way in hell he’d approve of what Jacob was willing to let happen. In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that he would have taken steps to stop Jacob here, had he been alive.
Don’t worry, Batgirl does her thing and saves the day. It actually wraps up pretty quickly, all things considered. That’s the downside to the one shot stories, but it is what it is. Here’s hoping that Jacob can be brought back around, otherwise he’s got a dark road ahead of him.
This was a decent issue, all things considered. It had a solid plot, but it probably could have been stretched out into two issues if they wanted. That would have allowed for more details, more buildup, and more time for the resolution. But it wasn’t too rushed, so it isn’t all that big of a deal in the long run.