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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Batman Family 3 - Batgirl and Robin surprise each other

Maggin is joined by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Vince Colletta as he brings back the Batgirl/Robin team in Batman Family 3 (Jan/Feb 76). The issue also contains three reprints: the first Batman of the Future story, from the 1940s, the debut of Kite-Man, from the early 60s, and the second Batwoman tale, from the late 50s.

The story takes place in the seaside resort of Provincetown, which must be close to Hudson University. Dick Grayson is there, part of the university paper, along with a photographer. Barbara Gordon, along with a couple of other members of Congress, is there as well. A promoter and entertainer, Major Maxwell, is due to make a major announcement, although when it happens it's fairly vague. He just promises something exciting. Dick is concerned that Barbara will see him, and that he might have to go into action as Robin, so takes pains to stay away from her.

It turns out to have been a wise gambit, when a dinosaur suddenly appears out of nowhere. Robin and Batgirl go into action, and the dinosaur disappears. They then notice an island, which seemingly appeared out of the blue as well. They head out to it, and so do a number of other people, to the chagrin of the heroes.

On the island they come across another dinosaur, and then the Spanish Inquisition. Meanwhile, the photographer buddy notices something strange about the pictures he took of Robin and Batgirl fighting the first dinosaur, and heads out to the island himself.

Things take a very bizarre turn when the reader, but not the characters, sees the defeated members of the Spanish Inquisition turn into flying alien invaders.

The photographer shows up, and reveals that no dinosaur appeared in the photos. None of what they had battled was real, just illusions. The island itself is the gift from Major Maxwell, a place of exciting adventures for the people of the town, who can become heroes, without any major risk to themselves.

So an action packed story, but really a light hearted one. Kicker ending to it as well, as Robin reveals that he has figured out Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, likely due to the same thing he was worried about, the extreme odds against the hero and civilian identity being in the same place twice. Batgirl caps this, though, revealing that she has figured out Robin is Dick Grayson.

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