Batgirl Vol. 2: Son of Penguin (Rebirth): Batgirl versus the Penguin’s son

Batgirl Vol. 2: Son of Penguin (Rebirth) by Hope Larson and Christian WildgooseBatgirl Vol. 2: Son of Penguin (Rebirth) by Hope Larson & Christian Wildgoose

Batgirl Vol. 2: Son of Penguin (Rebirth) by Hope Larson and Christian WildgooseAt the end of Volume One of Hope Larson’s take on Batgirl, a new face had arrived in Burnside, Gotham, who answered to the name “Cobblepot” at the airport.

Turns out he’s Ethan Cobblepot, son of the Penguin, though has never had any kind of close relationship with his father. He’s handsome and clever, and wants to improve the world through technology, launching a variety of apps to ensure public safety. Barbara is charmed, and agrees to go on a date with him — though given the spate of tech-related crime happening in the area, she does have an ulterior motive in spending time with him.

The interesting thing about this series is that it doesn’t just deal with big, bombastic, supervillain crimes, but issues such as homelessness, gentrification and data collection, all of which are exploited for nefarious purposes. This eventually gives way to a typically over-the-top scheme concocted by a not-very-interesting villain, but I liked how the story plugged into contemporary cultural problems.

 

 

Batgirl Vol. 2: Son of Penguin (Rebirth) by Hope Larson and Christian Wildgoose

There are also some mundane complications in Barbara’s life, from increased rent to her library studies, her eidetic memory to her array of friends. I’m quite new to comics, so it was a little difficult at times to keep track of who everyone was (characters appear in Batgirl Vol. 2: Son of Penguin (Rebirth) that I was clearly supposed to recognize from earlier issues) but I liked the fact that Barbara has a rich, full life outside of her crime-fighting escapades.

Outside of the Ethan Cobblepot story, there’s also one about Batgirl and Supergirl teaming up to break into Cadmus and rescue a girl that’s been communicating telepathically with Supergirl, and Barbara having to hide her hunt for a criminal during a long-delayed girl’s night out with her best friend.

There are some really cool set-pieces here, like an aquatically-themed club in which guests swims in a giant fishbowl, and the art is striking and vivid, with great colours and energy.

Most of all, I appreciated that the stories are brimming with female characters, both good and bad, all of whom have an interesting dynamic with Barbara.

Published in 2017. After a globe-trotting adventure with the greatest fighters on Earth, Barbara Gordon—a.k.a. Batgirl—is glad to be back in Burnside, Gotham City’s coolest neighborhood. There’s just one problem: everything’s changed, from her school to her friends to Burnside itself. But there’s an even bigger problem headed Babs’ way. Turns out the tech mogul who’s transforming the town is none other than Ethan Cobblepot—the estranged son of the crime lord better known as the Penguin! Yet Ethan and his father don’t seem like birds of a feather. He’s handsome, he’s heroic and he just might win Barbara’s heart. Can she trust this new man in her life—or will his villainous parentage kill their fledgling relationship before it even gets off the ground? Find out in BATGIRL VOL. 2: SON OF PENGUIN, from New York Times best-selling creators Hope Larson (A WRINKLE IN TIME: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL) and Chris Wildgoose (GOTHAM ACADEMY). Exploding from the pages of the blockbuster DC Universe Rebirth event, it’s a totally tumultuous new chapter in the saga of one of Gotham City’s greatest heroes! Collects issues #7-11 and BATGIRL ANNUAL #1.

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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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