BATGIRL #17 REVIEW
Writer: Hope Larson
Pencils: Chris Wildgoose
Inks: Jose Marzan Jr. and Andy Owens
Batgirl #17 closes out the Summer of Lies arc with a potent message about drugs and a lackluster final fight. At the end of issue #16, we discovered the identity of the Red Queen: Edith, Ainsley’s sister. Batgirl and Nightwing waste no time tracking her down for a final confrontation.
In a flashback, we learn that the Mad Hatter was using Ainsley’s proficiency in science to create a new line of drugs, but Ainsley got addicted to the drugs herself. Mad Hatter reveals he’s been supplying Ainsley with the drugs to keep her alive and to keep her sane. We later see that after Mad Hatter was out of the picture, Ainsley had trouble keeping down a job and ultimately overdosed.
In the present, Edith holds Batgirl and Nightwing responsible for her sister’s death. She believes that the way they cut out her supply source with the Mad Hatter lead to her untimely death. Edith brings out huge nanobots (although I guess they can’t really be nanobots at this point) to attack the duo. Edith even gets herself in a Voltron-esque costume with the bots.
The issue does a great job of showing the impact drugs can have on not only users but on everyone in the user’s life. Edith was destroyed. Barbara blamed herself. Ainsley was a great character for this arc. Here you have this intelligent individual with a ton of potential, and because of drugs, all that potential goes down the drain.
I was a little disappointed with the final fight. Nightwing comes under Red Queen’s control for a little bit, but Batgirl quickly snaps him out of it. One kick is all it takes to knock Red Queen out, but she should still have a ton of bots at her command to do whatever. The first panel with them shows quite an army, and then she somehow gets down to like three. Regardless, it delivered a satisfying conclusion.