Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My beef with the Oracle mini

Well, I still want to get this off my chest, if only to get the thoughts out of my head (and possibly also the words out of my arse..) so I'm damn well gonna put something down and post it.
Then I'm gonna stop pressuring msyelf about writing.

OK, so I inferred in an earlier post that I thought the Oracle mini was pointless, and I feel I should explain. I'm not so much going to look at the quality of the writing, that's fairly subjective I reckon. Well I doubt anyone's going to say it's a masterpiece but I hear some folks did find it rather enjoyable.

I think my main issue with it is that the mini was set up as an important spin off, or at the least as an important episode in Babs' life. Birds of Prey ended, setting this up to (potentially) be an important examination of Barbara, her life and character. The mini came out under the header 'Battle for the Cowl'. The first issue introduces the anti life equation, so there's also a Final Crisis connection.

And yet, the conclusion of this arc did fuck all for Babs, for the question of who would be Batman or Batgirl or anything for the anti life equation.

What did this series reveal?
  • The Calculator is the father of Wendy of wonder twins fame. Then did nothing with this information. It gave the calculator a reason to delve into the internetz and gather the anti life formula, but in the end it wasn't used.
  • Babs agonized (again) over the Joker's shooting of her, then didn't get to walk again (which for political reasons I am thankful for).
  • Oracle doesn't understand online RPGs - if you would grant me a moment of fan entitlement let me say that I consider that characterisation to be incorrect.
  • Fat girls want to play naked blonde bosomy warriors in the aforementioned RPGs. Yes. This rankles with me.
  • Oh look, rape threats again. Glad to see they are still common in the DCU. Apparently these drive Barbara into a near homocidal rage ---> on second thoughts if the joker did rape her after he shot her I can see why this incident, coupled with the murder of the cheese fiend and the recent ponderings over the shooting accident, might drive her to a battering frenzy.
  • Wendy woke up from her coma, yells for her dad (did she not know he was evil?) and discovers she can't feel her legs.
Nothing very important is it?

There is no big Batgirl reveal, there's no big reconciling of Barbara's feelings over the Joker's attack and Wendy hasn't decided to become an Oracle copycat.

I think my point is that for such a hyped series I would have expected something big to come out of it, like a new Batgirl or Barbara being able to walk again. Instead this is just a run of the mill story that could have featured pretty much anywhere and been written anywhen. (OK you might need to remove the references to the anti life equation, but it wouldn't be difficult to come up with something else implausible to replace it.) Barbara is particularly angry and violent in this mini, but there's nothing to indicate this is a permanent personality change for her.

How does this segue into Batgirl? There are no links. You may as well have put 'Next: Batgirl /1' at the end of Booster Gold, or Green Lantern.

So yeah, pointless.

On the theme of Batgirl, I'd just like to add that I really don't think Steph (Spoiler) should be Batgirl.. Before her 'death' she really badly wanted to be part of the Bat family, but in her return I felt that she came back with her own distinct identity - she doesn't need their approval anymore. So I feel that she should be an ally of the Bat- clan not a fully paid up member. I also cannot see Barbara putting herself in the junior role of Batgirl either.

As for who's under the Batman cowl - I will try and buy the comic on Friday, please if anyone writes about who has taken up the mantle please hide the new identity under a spoiler banner!
Me - I'm itching for it to be Alfred.

Just so long as it's not Tim. That would be very very wrong. But I guess with the advent of the Batman and Robin book it's pretty definitely not gonna be Tim as Batman right?


Sea-of-Green said...

Oh, it'll be Dick Grayson, no question. Really, who else could it be?

And, yeah, the Oracle series really just comes off as filler, which is a darned shame. :-(

SallyP said...

Yes, it WAS pretty darned pointless. It just seemed to end with such a palpable thud.

I'm pretty sure that Dick is going to be Batman, but wouldn't it be hilarious if Tim was the new Batgirl?

Maddy said...

Well said!

I agree with pretty much all your points here, although I also have a few complaints about Vanhook's writing. =P

Saranga said...

Ooh girlTim. I have a picture of that somewhere, I shall locate it and post it.

Maddy - Yeah I wasn't too keen on the writing either. Bab's newfound mean streak I found rather peculiar, but I figured that view of mine is more subjective.

Word verification - geoginge!

Anonymous said...

Came here from WFA - good review. Sums up every single problem I had with the Oracle mini.

Saranga said...

Thank for the kind words. :)