What is this all about?
When we last left Batgirl and Nightwing, they had just confronted The Mad Hatter at the hospital. Except Hatter wasn’t the one pulling the strings. There’s a bigger threat looming over Gotham: The Red Queen. We still don’t know who she is exactly, but we do get a pretty good idea. Let’s see what Batgirl adventures are in store for us this week! And of course, spoilers ahead.
The Mad Hatter doesn’t really factor into this story. He ends up getting a seizure, but before the duo can figure out what’s wrong with him, there’s a commotion down the hall. Dr. Carly Philbert is on a rampage, and none of her colleagues know why. After a fight with Nightwing, Dr. Philbert a.k.a. Dr. Knight a.k.a Red Knight (she has a few monikers in mind for herself) ends up with a face full of glass.
To figure out what’s wrong with her, Batgirl and Nightwing put her in an MRI machine. But SURPRISE! It ends up vaporizing her. Turns out she was between 50 and 70 percent nanobots, so she’s just dead now. It’s a pretty jarring scene, made all the more jarring that Batgirl and Nightwing start making out a couple pages later. I guess an argument could be made it wasn’t really Nightwing’s fault (that’s a hard thing to predict would happen) but still.
The present-day story is intercut with flashbacks. First up, Barbara and Dick infiltrate a high school party where the kids are taking a new drug that appears to be undetectable with typical drug tests. Additionally, young Barbara starts her internship with her old pal Ainsley. Ainsley seems to be up to something fishy. Barbara remembers Ainsley getting a call from Philbert herself (Batgirl really has a good memory to remember a name on a phone). Ainsley also seems to be avoiding some Matrix-looking dudes at The Chive Garden. When Barbara and Dick spy on their headquarters, they’re throwing darts at a picture of Ainsley. She definitely has a shady past.
I’ll be surprised if the Red Queen doesn’t end up being Ainsley. However, they’re setting it up so heavily, it could very easily be a red herring.
Total side note: I’d totally pay to listen to whatever that emoji song is playing during the high school party. It’s totally the type of jam I could see Carly Rae Jepsen recording and making it all cutesy and sweet.
So far, the Summer of Lies arc has really needed some more consistency. It will jump from Batgirl and Nightwing tossing off one-liners to innocent people dying horrific deaths to misplaced romance. With the teaser that the Red Queen will be revealed in the next issue, hopefully this arc will keep it up a notch and deliver something truly great.
7 / 10
Reviewed by Mike Bedard Batgirl #15 Script by Hope Larson Pencils by Chris Wildgoose Inks by Jose Marzan Jr. Colors by Mat Lopes Published by DC Comics Release Date: September 27th, 2017