Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back Issue Box: Detective Comics #510

The DC relaunch is officially starting later today which means I have to wrap up my look at Supergirl interacting with characters coming back.

With Babs Gordon donning the cape and cowl  in the DCnU, I have been looking at a three part Batgirl/Supergirl team-up in the Batgirl back-up feature in 80's Detective Comics.

As for the 'freshness' of the DCnU, this cover doesn't seem to jibe with the sentiment. Two heroes fighting has been done forever to the point of feeling stale. It is worse knowing the old water under the bridge for Dick and Barbara. I also find this cover to be a weird anti-riff to this cover from Birds of Prey.

Kind of the same but radically different, right? Or am I seeing something that isn't there?

I am still going to miss Oracle.

But on to the story. I have reviewed the first two parts of the story earlier this month. The last part of this Supergirl/Batgirl story was released in Detective Comics #510.

Written by Cary Burkett and drawn by Jose Delbo and Joe Giella, 'Bride of Destruction' ended the battle between Supergirl, Batgirl, and the Annihilator.

In this story, a disgruntled scientist becomes a telekinetic/telepathic mutant after being bombarded by energies from a odd stone. Now with a freakishly bulbous head and imbued with mental powers, he decides the best thing to do is turn Batgirl into a bulbous headed bride and rule the world.

I absolutely love the insanity of the plot.

Amazingly, his powers are enough to repel Supergirl's attacks. She is blasted back by a force blast. The resulting explosion starts a fire. The villain loves it, hoping the flames will purge the area of human infestation. Fantastic!

While engulfed in the flames, the Annihilator seems to mutate even further.

Supergirl comes back on the scene and takes care of the fire while sending Batgirl out to find where the Annihilator has disappeared to.

One of the running themes in this story has been Batgirl's inferiority complex about Supergirl. While Karais treating Babs like a partner, Babs feels outmatched and out of Supergirl's league. I don't think Batgirl has expressed those feelings in the prior World's Finest team-ups so it is hard to figure out why she would feel this way here.

Those feelings don't stop her from being a hero. When she finds the Annihilator, she confronts him physically, throttling him. I still chuckle at how desperate the Annihilator sounds, trying to woo Batgirl with promises of being superior. It is an interesting angle on her feelings of inferiority during the story. Batgirl could become something super-human but she doesn't succumb to that temptation despite her current feelings.

And, as she has done throughout this story, Supergirl shows up and seems to be able to fix any problem in seconds. She entombs the Annihilator in a brick cocoon at super-speed. Despite having just successfully battled the Annihilator, Batgirl again sinks into some despair, feeling like she has simply been along for the ride.

But bricks can't hold the terrible power of the Annihilator's mind. He explodes the bricks outward and is free once more.

Finally, Batgirl comes up with the solution.

She tells Supergirl to hit the Annilator with her freeze breath. One blast of super-breath later, the Annihilator is back to plain old disgruntled Kenneth Anderson.

And without powers, he is quickly captured.

Babs realized that the Annihilator mutated and gained more powers after having been exposed to great heat (Supergirl's heat vision in part two, the fire here in part three). If heat increased his powers then, naturally, cold should decrease them.

Supergirl thanks Batgirl for realizing that connection. She tell Batgirl that she is happy they are on the best team. All along, there has been nothing but feelings of camaraderie in Kara, no feelings of superiority. And I think that this probably helped Batgirl get over those feelings. It isn't like Supergirl told her to stay out of the way. Supergirl was happy they were working together.

These issues came out in early 1982 and as far as I know it is the last Supergirl/Batgirl interaction until the Crisis.

There is nothing special about this story with its pedestrian plot and workman-like art. The Batgirl insecurities is an interesting wrinkle but not enough to make this anything but low importance to a Supergirl collection. It is a Batgirl/Supergirl team-up which might make it a bit more interesting. This issue can probably be found for a couple of bucks or less at cons or comic book stores.

And that ends my pre-DCnU look at Supergirl teaming up with returning characters like Resurrection Man, Nightwing, and the Barbara Gordon Batgirl.

The future is now.

Overall grade (three part story): C+


Anonymous said...

There was a lot of this sort of writing at DC back in the day. Sudden inexplicable changes in a character's personality or continuity, chiefly introduced for plot purposes and nothing else. Hence Batgirl's hertofore unseen feelings of inferiority towards Kara.
I call it "The Bob Haney Effect" in honor of the "Brave and the Bold" writer who routinely shredded the continuities and personalities of ALL the guest stars in that Batman Team Up book.
Just be glad Supergirl wasn't caught knitting pink baby booties or something...



Anonymous said...

Weid plot but entertaining story and good art. And I love Supergirl/Batgirl team-ups.

The story may not be special but I'm willing to forgive its flaws because Kara and Babs would not work together again for thirty-five years.

How different the Super/Bat team-ups were back in the day. Nowadays it's mandatory the Kryptonian forgets about their powers and their brains so the Bat can show everyone how awesome he/she is by saving the day.