The last batch of books from 2016 continue here and, amazingly, DC Comics had a fun slate with Batgirl and The Flash. Single issue stories are all the rage today, as I cover some of the books I read on the subway ride home.
Written by Hope Larson
Art by Rafael Albuquerque
One of two stand-alone issues we get today, as Barbara Gordon is on a plane back to Burnside after her Asian Adventure. She’s excited for the new direction she hopes to take her life on (and line everything up with what she’s doing over in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey… unless you decide to just not worry about continuity, which is the recommended way to go, really). But flying back to Burnside from Asia is a long flight, and of course taking a sleeping pill and waking up stateside isn’t an option – it would be a really boring comic that way.
No, on this particular flight home, Barbara Gordon is not the only original Gothamite in the cabin. She’s joined by Dr. Pamela Isley, best known as the villain Poison Ivy. Isley has smuggled a prehistoric plant sample onto the plane and is planning to bring it back to Gotham. But the change in cabin pressure and other pseudo-science cause the plant to come back to life, mutate and grow. Babs puts on her Batgirl suit and tries to fight it as it starts to overtake the plane. Poison Ivy, not expecting the mutation or to die on the plane ride home, teams up with Batgirl to stop the plant. Things don’t go smoothly.
No, the plane doesn’t go down, and while Ivy and Batgirl didn’t really agree on the best way to deal with the plant, but they decide to put their differences aside for the good of everyone on the plane… and themselves.
With all of the focus on multi-issue stories and stretching things out way longer than they need to, one-and-done stories like this are a welcome change, and writer Hope Larson does a great job keeping Batgirl light and fun, which is needed for something like this. While we’re moving towards an arc featuring Penguin’s son (as seen in the last pages of this issue, to tie it in to the inevitable collected edition, I’m sure), I do hope we get more issues like this one in the next year.
The Flash 13
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Neil Googe
When we last left our fastest-hero-alive, he had finally decided to ask Iris West out after however long it’s been of not being able to figure things out. This issue is another interlude between “The next epic story” as the ads in every issue now promote, with Barry and Iris going on a date and trying to figure out what their relationship means. The catch? No distractions from work (or the Flash, which Iris doesn’t know about).
So while Barry is out of the red pajamas trying to woo the woman we know is his soulmate – these reboots make everything confusing – Wally West (not that one, the younger one) is on patrol in Central City, making sure reporter Iris or forensic scientist Barry don’t get called away from their date for work. No, Kid Flash doesn’t know that Barry is the Flash, either. Barry has to be the fastest man alive to keep up with all these secrets. Kid Flash is having a pretty easy go of things, until he comes upon Tar Pit robbing a toy store, trying to pay off the people who kidnapped his niece and nephew. Wally agrees to help him, leading to my favorite panel in the book.
Kidnappings gone awry always lead to adoptions, right? No worries, because Kid Flash saves the kids and ships the kidnappers out to the Central City Police and all is well. So Barry and Iris get their quiet night together, and maybe a relationship is blossoming. Who knows, though, maybe another reboot will wipe it away again.