Where to start with this one. Maci Knight lives in a world where there are superheroes (they all pretty much have the same powers, speed, healing, strength, etc) and normal people. She’s not just from a superhero race, she’s the prized daughter of the Mayor of the Superheroes. She, like all members of her genetic race, has been training her whole life to become a hero like her older brother and her dad.
But right before she takes her final graduation tests she learns that she was born a twin (in a horribly stilted, cheesy way), and before her all twins born to the super race are killed because one always goes bad, and there is no way to tell which is which. The elders of the city are reluctant to let Maci become a hero and fail her… at which point Maci throws a fit and whines a whole lot about not getting her due.
There are some interesting ideas here. The concepts of supers and normals, and how supers are adored, but seem to look down on normals as frail and pitiful. The hero-worship culture, the normals being seen almost universally as lesser people who must be taken care of, and the tradition of killing all twins (except, of course, when the mayor had twins. Then he broke all the rules for his daughters. And this is the motivation for the bad guy.) even Maci’s own subconscious programming to only accept being a hero as a valid path in her life, to view other positions in the super city itself as lesser, inferior, all could have been very very interesting subtexts.
But instead there’s zero self awareness or introspection from our entitled, ill-tempered heroine. She doesn’t care why losing hero status gets such a reaction from her. She doesn’t wonder if her own narcissism is an issue, or even use learning that she is a twin to explore the idea of nurture over nature, or shades of gray in heroism. No, she just throws fits, breaks things, runs away, disobeys, defends the status quo, talks about how she deserves to be a hero because she’s the best, gets people killed(!)…
And in the end it’s almost like Maci manages to reach through the text and convince the author to give her what she wants. The cool guy likes her, even though she completely and totally looks down on him (he’s not a hero). One would think he’d get tired of hearing how being a hero is the only thing she ever wanted and she totally deserves it, when her behavior says different. And the bad guy, who is completely and totally justified in feeling ire and anger against a system (And the iconic head of that system) that slaughters twins without a thought, EXCEPT when the mayor breaks the rules for himself after he has literally demanded the death and torture of thousands of people for not fitting the super-society norms. In the end the author touches only a tiny bit on that conflict, then ham-handedly turns the villain into a cartoon, blindly cackling and being evil just because.
I almost quit reading this one a hundred pages in. The whining fit-,throwing from entitled Maci toned down after a while, but the story didn’t really redeem itself. If you want a Peep of a superhero story with battles, a villainous villain and a sassy hero, you might like this. If you prefer a complex meaty super tale, skip on, because this one avoids the most interesting parts of its own concept.
It’s a special kind of school that has Killer Croc hiding it its walls. And it’s a special kind of student who has Killer Croc as a guardian angel. At least some of the hauntings are Croc, who promised to her mother, a fellow inmate at Arkham Asylum, to watch over Olive before Arkham was destroyed. A school dance makes the perfect distraction for the crew, who are now hunting for Croc for their answers.
I am absolutely in love with Maps at this point. The girl is pure geek, and while everyone else seems to want to roll eyes and sneer at her geek jokes and role playing mindset the Academy itself is just proving her right with secret tunnels, chained monsters, and rune puzzle-locked doors. It’s hard not to be infected by her enthusiasm.
Somehow Olive and her friends escaped…whatever it was in the pit in the North Hall without getting injured, or caught, or sentenced to detention. But the teachers definitely know what’s going on, as Olive accidentally catches Mr. Wayne inquiring about HER specifically and Headmaster Hammer hints that he knows it was her in the North Hall. Still, Olive is fully immersed in the Academy mystery now and can’t let it go. Even if it leads to strange places, like secret passages in the walls of her dorm.
Last issue Olive Silverlock accidentally busted a secret cult in a hidden crypt of the cemetery on academy grounds. But it turns out the secret society (The Order of the Bat) is trying to help the school by binding the crazy ghost of Millie Cobblepot. And when Pomeline confronts Olive about her assumptions that the Order is up to no good they find out the teachers know more about the strange events on the grounds as well. Between Maps’ enthusiasm and brutal approach to mystery solving and Pomeline and Heathcliff’s charming ways of persuasion Olive finds herself sucked right into the mystery. With the help of Colton Rivera the team breaks into the North Hall, site of a mysterious destructive fire last summer and a place where Olive is about to recover hidden memories as well.
The fight continues, the um, fight to recover the contents of Barbara Gordon’s computer which was stolen by a goon bent on exposing everyone’s private lives to the whole world. But it also contained her college work, which is due. While out searching for help to recover her files Babs runs into a techie at a lab whose smart bikes were just stolen. Conveniently two women on killer bikes with swords show up, like bad guys out of an anime, aiming right for Batgirl. When she tracks them to a warehouse she finds out the inspiration behind the attacks are more than just general mischief. Someone out there is gunning for Ms. Bats.
The anime nod was fun, and point on, like the other themes in this series.
Confession time: This is my first look at the new 52 Batgirl. Yes, I know, this comic came out in December 2014, and I’ve had it for months, but it’s the New 52 and I’ve been afraid to look. But really? I loved it. Very modern, very smart. This is not Nancy Drew, this is a modern young woman who is tech savvy (and not just Wayne Tech fantasy gadgets either) and has a real personality (and a real temper). In this issue Babs Gordon discovers someone stole cell phones from a party at her new apartment, and her laptop (which may or may not have footage of a super villain attack on Black Canary’s house on it.) This scheme collides with a local jerk wad who runs a website exploiting personal photos, doxing people and generally embarrassing them by releasing very private information on his website. It’s the kind of guy who will take a beating and still keep going just because (and he talks in hashtags!), so Barbara has to find a way to shut him down before her own secrets end up on the web.
Very fun, fast paced, but a robust story too, not one strung out for effect. Why did I wait so long to dig into this??