It’s Fun to Stay at the Y
Script: Hope Larson
Pencils & Inks: Elonora Carlini
Colors: Chris Peter
Letters: Deron Bennett
Cover: Dan Mora
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: June 28, 2017
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Looks like this is a one-off issue, folks, which is a real roll of the dice. In a story arc, the score is cumulative, and sometimes the overall score for an arc is lower than one or two of the individual issues. But a one-off comic book must stand on its own. Sink or swim. It can be spectacular or forgettable. So let’s find out, shall we? It’s all in my review of Batgirl #12, which directly follows this spiel.
Seems there’s a haunting in the Pool of the Burnside Y. Not the Burnside YMCA, despite what the solicit copy for this issue might have had you believe, but the Burnside Y. Why? Well, perhaps the YMCA wouldn’t have cottoned to their name being used in an issue of Batgirl. Or maybe—just maybe—the folks at Batgirl didn’t want to use the full acronym of an organization whose actual name is Young Men’s Christian Association. It feels like they’re dancing around something, with the refusal to use YMCA at any point in the comic. Anyway, there’s a purple, electrical ghost that keeps manifesting in the pool whenever there’s an aquatics-based class going on, and they’ve called upon TV ghost hunter Kayla P and Batgirl, for some reason, to take care of it. Of course, the conditions aren’t correct for the specter to manifest that evening, especially after Kayla P jumps into the pool in order to ham it up for the cameras.
So Batgirl does what any high-flying action hero would do in this situation: she follows up on leads. No, I kid, it was quite nice to see Babs doing a little detective work, instead of just swinging around and mulling over the stuff she doesn’t understand until she’s forced to react to an emergency. But the way she goes about getting to the bottom of this mystery is a little bit Bill Dozier: first, she visits grad student and confidante Qadir so he can analyze some pool water from the Burnside Y. He’s a tech guy, so he suggests they go ask aspiring chemist Analyn Ku, someone Qadir also has a crush on. A peek at the pool water reveals nothing suspicious, but then Analyn suggests that Batgirl go speak to Professor Radden in the physics department, to information on the physical properties of water? Huh? But that line of questioning becomes irrelevant because Barbara remembers hearing about Radden, back when she started up Gordon Clean Energy, and an Internet search shows that he revealed a teleporter he’d created…mere months after his research assistant Liana Soto went missing. Therefore, Professor Radden obliterated Liana Soto with her own teleporter and then passed it off as his own, and now Liana is trying to get back to our dimension by gathering the energies of people in the Burnside Y pool! It’s so simple!
The rest of the issue is fairly rote: Batgirl arranges a group, including Kayla P, to hang out in Burnside Y’s pool so Liana can come back to life, back to reality. There’s some horseplay in the pool (naturally), but Liana eventually Dr. Manhattans herself into our space and, one week later, Professor Radden is in jail and Liana is someone that exists because she has a digital camera lodged in her head. Or something like that. Point is, Batgirl wore a special Bat-swimsuit in this issue, and is was cute as hell.
So here’s an issue with a fairly stupid plot that I didn’t hate. Maybe because it’s just a bite-sized Batgirl adventure, I feel less critical of it, but there were some reasonably fun moments with Kayla P and Qadir’s nerd crush and it was nice to see Barbara Gordon being proactively intelligent, instead of continually being steps behind everyone around her. The art was a little sloppy at points, but it did the job just fine. If you’ve been staying away from Batgirl because the last couple of story arcs annoyed you…well, I wouldn’t suggest rushing to get this issue, exactly. But here’s one that just might annoy you less than you expected.
Bits and Pieces:
Batgirl solves a mystery, in a roundabout way, and it feels sort of nice. There are some problems with the story but if you can look past them, you might have a decent time with this. The artwork is nothing spectacular but the storytelling works just fine. How much is this? $3.99 now? That might be a bit much, but for a buck less it would be alright.