Batgirl Rips Into Batman Over His 'City of Bane' Vacation - and She's Rightby L.D. Nolan
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. #1, by James Tynion IV, Peter J. Tomasi, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Chris Burnham, Marcio Takara, Diogenes Neyes, David Lafuente, Sumit Kumar, Adriano Lucas, Rex Lokus, Nathan Fairbairn, Travis Lanham and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
Things went badly for Batman/Bruce Wayne during "City of Bane." After the arc's titular villain broke Bruce's back, Flashpoint Batman/Thomas Wayne helped him recover. However, Bruce was then beaten up badly by his father. He was eventually saved by Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and the two spent time on a beach recovering while also formulating a plan to take down Bane. During that time, Bane reigned over Gotham and -- due to the interference of Damian Wayne/Robin despite an explicit warning for all Batman Family members to stay away -- snapped Alfred's neck. In Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. #1, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl calls Bruce out for taking a vacation when he was needed in the city.
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The comic, which eulogizes Alfred, sees the Batman Family gathering at Noonan's Sleazy Bar, where they tell stories about their experiences with their butler and friend. Among them is Barbara, who is none too happy about the situation, lashing out at her various family members over the events of "City of Bane." When the time comes for her to talk to Bruce, she blames him, explaining his privilege kept him from seeing just how bad things were under Bane.
Barbara doesn't stop there. She's also upset with Bruce's recent behavior and negligence. "You let my dad's brain get infected by a monster," Barbara says, referencing how The Batman Who Laughs made Jim Gordon into one of his Secret Six. "You took a vacation to the beach at the worst possible time and it got Alfred killed." She then adds, "This city is becoming unrecognizable," and mentions the Batman symbol no longer means hope for the people of Gotham.
In this scene, Barbara is trying to make clear to Bruce that his recent choices have been inappropriate. Although she's angry, she doesn't seem to be intentionally malicious. Instead, Barbara is trying to bring Bruce, who has been on a pretty bad losing streak as of late, back to reality so that he can be the incredible hero she knows that he is. Barbara believes Bruce is trying to make up for his mistakes by pushing himself too hard, which is something he's repeatedly done in the past.
What Barbara says is also deeply true. When Bane ruled over Gotham, people suffered. During "City of Bane," there was something disconcerting about seeing Bruce and Selina relaxing on a beach while a monster hurt innocent people. Barbara's dressing down is a reality check for Bruce, because when Gotham needed Batman most, he wasn't there. That's what hurts Barbara so much.
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