Subway Shorts – Secrets of the Past

An adventure from early in their heroic careers brings Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon together in Batgirl, while gods new and old come to blows as Wonder Woman kicks off a new era.

Wonder Woman 31
Written by James Robinson
Art by Carlo Pagulayan, Sean Parsons, Jason Paz and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

When Greg Rucka finished up his return engagement with Wonder Woman, I checked out for a few issues, but with James Robinson coming aboard as writer for DC Comics’ most iconic female hero, I thought it would be a good time to check back in. Robinson, for the uninitiated, has written some iconic stories for the publisher. His 1990s run on Starman told one of the most poignant superhero tales of a generation, while his Elseworlds tale The Golden Age is also held in high regard.

But Robinson isn’t always able to keep my interest. His run on Justice League of America in the 2000s completely bored me and the less said about Justice League: Cry For Justice the better.

At his best, though, Robinson is very good, and I’m willing to give him a chance here, as he picks up story threads left by Geoff Johns in his pre-Rebirth Justice League story, The Darkseid War – specifically Grail, the daughter of Darkseid, trying to restore her father to full power, and the mystery of Diana’s brother.

With his first issue, we quickly establish that Wonder Woman is in a better place than she was during Rucka’s run, though the meat of the issue follows Grail as she continues on her mission. She has been killing the Old Gods to give their power to Darkseid. Here, she battles Hercules, who has been hiding in a cabin in the wilderness.

Robinson’s first issue felt a bit light, but it provided enough of a hook for the rest of the story to keep me interested. Whenever Darkseid is involved, something major is looming, and a battle with Wonder Woman, no longer plagued by doubt, should be fun.

Batgirl 15
Written by Hope Larson
Art by Chris Wildgoose, Jose Marzan Jr. and Mat Lopes

The second part of the SUMMER OF LIES story is more of a flashback to the early careers of both Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson, as it ties in to a threat the pair are facing in the present day. Writer Hope Larson delves into how Batgirl and Robin forged their partnership and the beginnings of their “will-they-won’t-they” relationship while on a case looking into the strange behavior of their classmates.

The events of the past reverberate into the present, as the pair works together to try and sedate a doctor gone mad under the influence of nanobots. It doesn’t go very well for our heroes…

Nightwing and Batgirl have a storied history and a complicated relationship, and the two of them have especially relied on each other as confidants and a shoulder to lean on in their respective books since the Rebirth kick-off.

Often, the banter can be considered flirtation, which leads to the kiss between the two, which is a moment I’m sure many have been waiting for.

Of course, Nightwing’s recent dalliance with Batgirl’s Birds of Prey partner Huntress – someone else he has a history with – could complicate matters, but that’s probably a story for another time. Here, Larson pens another strong issue in the midst of a compelling tale.

If you enjoy well-written female characters in fun stories – or even just well-written comic books in general – Batgirl should be at the top of your list.