Apex Lex has set the pieces in motion. He resurrects Oracle-the A.I. programme used by Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl – but to what end?
Stuck in their warehouse, the Terrible Trio, Shark, Vulture and Fox, are forced to endure endless computer simulations. Oracle concludes she has been abandoned and in revenge seeks to eliminate Barbara. To gain victory, Oracle runs varying simulations predicting the likely outcome of a showdown between Batgirl and herself. Each simulation ends in failure, unable to predict any scenario featuring Batgirl’s defeat.
Teaming Oracle and the Terrible Trio is the book’s unlikely strength. The bickering, often witless gang is an interesting contrast to Oracles’ cold precision and efficiency. The campy villains are hilarious at times and offer a good laugh amidst the serious tone in the rest of the book.
Furthermore, Barbara’s woes continue in in Batgirl #39, losing her energy company and her apartment is taking a toll. For comfort, she attempts to reboot her old Oracle programme and is bitterly disappointed when she is unable to connect. Her wallowing in self-pity is disrupted, however, when she is assigned by congresswoman Alejo to visit Burnside, as one of her reps.
Batgirl’s foray into social and political commentary might put readers off though. Comics often touch on social issues, in this case, gentrification and housing. It need not be anathema to include these topics but here it feels a bit tacked-on and slows the pace of the book just a bit. The dialogue is good throughout, but the political slant can become boring and too heavy for a comic to handle.
The artwork is good. Di Giandomenico’s angle choices are interesting and he gives characters great physicality. Their facial expressions are vivid and accurately detail the characters varying emotional reactions.
This new arc featuring Oracle is promising and #39, while not explosive, was enjoyable.