Thursday, July 13, 2017


Today, a book I never thought I'd get to read; and...enh. From 1988, Batgirl Special #1, "The Last Batgirl Story" Written by Barbara Randall, pencils by Barry Kitson, inks by Bruce D. Patterson.

This issue is probably best known for being the last Batgirl story before the Killing Joke, but since I'd missed some stories prior I was confused: having nearly been killed by the paid assassin Comorant, Batgirl is more or less retired, until someone is murdered in her library and Comorant's hat is left there. Meanwhile, Barbara's old friend Marcy visits and confronts her over her secret identity; and in Gotham, a new vigilante, Slash, is murdering rapists. In broad daylight, on the streets; but wouldn't that be the best time? No bats then...

I was positive Slash was going to turn out to be Marcy, because that's how that usually works. I think this was Marcy's first appearance, so it's a best friend we've never seen before, although the context seems to imply Marcy made the first Batgirl costume, back when it was just going to be for Barbara's Halloween. Slash had never appeared before; but Comorant had shot Batgirl in Detective Comics #491. Yet Batgirl made more than a few appearances after that, but apparently getting shot affected her more than she let on--or editorial decided to phase her out here.

There's a scene of Barbara using a computer to hack some records, a precursor of her becoming Oracle; but there's also a scene of her checking out all her Batgirl gear...just so she can quit in the end. With the house ad for Killing Joke on the next page. Still, she does take care of her final case; and I don't think Slash, Comorant, or Marcy have appeared since. Oh, and this might have the last mention of her time in Congress; Barbara doesn't say if her re-election bid failed or if she didn't run again.

Overall, the whole issue feels like it's all over the place: you want Batgirl to have agency and rise up to the occasion, but she has to end up retired in the end. She has to be prepared but caught by surprise, brave yet terrified, competent but outmatched. I didn't love this one, but worth a look if it turns up. Oh, and Mike Mignola cover! Pretty iconic there.

3 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

So who turned out to be the killer? The body type looks like it could be female, so Mercy or some random rape victim would make sense.

googum said...

Mercy was the killer, but it wasn't a Green Goblin thing where she was anyone we knew. I don't think she's appeared since, possibly because she'd be too sympathetic for a Batman villain...

Dale Bagwell said...

I knew it had to be a woman based off the overall body structure of the rapist from what you showed.

So was Mercy locked up?