How bad is this book? So bad that I don't even need to address how badly out of character Barbara Gordon is written, the cheesecake artwork or the gratuitous shower scene (There are enough reviewers on When Fangirls Attack! who have got those angles covered already) to pick apart this book on violations of continuity and common sense. What follows is a list of every single thing in the book that made me go WTF?
1. Barbara moved into a new apartment with inadequate power needs for her equipment and inadequate accommodations for a woman in a wheelchair.
It's pretty well established at this point that Babs owned numerous safe-houses in case she had to relocate in a hurry. Even if she didn't, it's also a matter of record has enough cash saved up from looting the accounts of criminal organizations to pay her agents a decent living wage so they could be a full-time hero if they wanted to so finding a wheelchair accessible apartment with WiFi and a decent power grid should be cake.
2. The Calculator is the father of Wendy from Teen Titans?!
This just seemed kind of off to me, given that most of my exposure to the character has come from Birds of Prey, where he was always portrayed as an obsessive, anti-social geek with no life outside of his super-villainy.
But I've gone on-line since originally reading the book and confirmed that, according to Teen Titans (which I don't normally read), The Calculator IS the father of Wendy and Marvin. Yes, THAT Wendy and Marvin. The ones who were introduced into Teen Titans as a tribute to the two characters from the original educational Superfriends cartoon.
This just confuses me even more. First, that The Calculator ever managed to procreate in the first place. Then, because he would further give a damn about anyone besides himself, let alone an apparently estranged daughter that he had no contact with.
3. Barbara out-sources her hacking.
I can see her communicating with other hackers. I can see her keeping tabs on other players in the field. I cannot see her asking someone else to take a look at something and then asking someone else to keep an eye on the first agent. Granting that Babs needs to sleep sometimes and that no matter how brilliant a programmer she is there are some things she can't have run on automatic... everything between Oracle and "Cheese-Fiend" just seems wrong.
4. Looking for the Anti-Life Equation on the Internet.
Why?! Why is the ALE on the Internet in the first place if everything that happened in Final Crisis (save Batman's "death") was rewritten to have never happened? Why is Babs looking for it after a glimpse of it nearly killed her? Her trying to destroy it would make sense but we never do get an explanation. And why is Noah trying to find it when his apparent goal is saving his daughter when the ALE is essentially destructive?
5. Barbara Gordon has no idea who "Babbage" is until it is too late.
Yes, Calculator uses Babbage as an call-sign. Granting that it's totally in character for him to flaunt his intelligence like that, it's totally unexpected that Barbara - even ignoring her perfect photographic memory - wouldn't know off the top of her head that Babbage = Charles Babbage = creator of the first calculator. I still remember that from my 7th grade Introduction To Computers class!
6. Barbara is ignorant regarding a popular MMO.
I don't expect Barbara to be an active World of Warcraft player or anything but I would expect her to keep up on the hot social-networking sites and popular trends in on-line living.
Actually, now that I think about it, I can totally see Babs having 300 bots running simultaneously, using them to finance her operations by running a legitimate gold-farming business... but this is why I'm not writing for DC Comics.
7. The Useless Shadow
So Babs has a gamer named Chaos Larry follow Cheese-Fiend into the Second Life MMO she's playing on, despite the fact that Babs is perfectly capable of watching her every move from her own computer and in fact does. So why bother with the shadow in the first place if you're already watching her?
8. The Calculator's Crystals
Apparently they're part of some weapon that allows him to make people go all Scanners through the Internet. But... HOW?!?! How do they manifest in the game?! Why does the avatar scream along with the woman in real life? If it's sonic-based, why doesn't it hurt anyone else in ear-shot in the game or anyone listening to the action In Real Life?! And... why am I still looking for logic in this book at this point?
The Final Word: Bad Art. Bad Characterization. And it's more concerned with Teen Titans continuity than Birds of Prey. What the hell?!