Aight, let’s dive right in. I recall being confused by Mirror’s motivation. Yes, he survived a horrible tragedy, watched his family die, yes I get it, but I had trouble getting from A to B with this guy. Issue three opens with BG flying off, Mirror talking to her in her earpiece, threatening to blow *her* up. In BG’s inner monologue, we see her wondering what makes this guy tick, and here’s her best guess:
Uhm. Yep. After Mirror’s family died, apparently he rescued a guy who passed out on a train track. And this makes him want to blow up people. Because he’s mad at miracles. I just can’t quite make that leap. If there was a bit more about the character’s bitterness, some extra complication, shading, nuance….something?
Anyway, we progress with BG flying off to save a train full of people Mirror is attempting to sabotage. And I want to take a mini break from that to notice this happy ass pigeon:
Just look at that lil fella for a moment. I know it’s foreshortening, but doesn’t he look like he’s smiling? The page itself is a rather nice piece of art, dynamic and dramatic. It keeps the plot going forward, and gives us a chance to see BG in a cool pose, because superheroes have to pose.
BG continues, breaks into the train to find the last person on Mirror’s list, to save his bacon and defeat the baddie. Standard fare nothing wrong with that. Things become complicated pretty quickly, though, as the real target (besides BG’s confidence) is the “Good Samaritan” that rescued Mirror from the car bomb that killed his family. And he’s on the opposite train, so BG can’t win for loosing:
At this point, I want to look at this thematically, to pull back and address some previous misgivings I had regarding Mirror. Mirror feels betrayed by the very idea of miracles* and, damnit, noone else is going to get one on his watch. BG herself is a miracle case, somehow recovering from paralysis. Miracles are the theme here, unexplained providence, divine favor, whatever you’d like to call them.
They are unfair things, squeaks of Fortuna’s wheel. In the real world, miracles are what we pattern-seeking beings call the occasional positive effects of the universe’s chaos. BG accepts her miracle, whatever its provenance. Mirror can’t accept his, understandably, since he lost everyone he loved. One might say “What is the use of life if the people that make life worth living are horribly killed?” The figure of the superhero, especially the dark bat-based ones, is to provide parts of that answer. Like any lore, it’s invented to give us a shot in the arm. “Hey, life may not be totally random and inscrutable, here’s someone who has a mission, righting wrongs, and bringing justice all over the place!”
This is what makes heroes fun: for a brief while, we can pretend on some level that there’s someone who can swoop in, fix our shit, and tell us it’ll be ok. Villains are the compliment for that, letting us indulge our need for unpredictability, our fascination with violence, pain, sadism, whatever. Hard to have one without the other, which is why we’ve had, how many decades of Batman and Joker duking it out over Gotham?
Hero and villain stories give us some semblance of order in our own lives, much like the idea of miracles. How different are images of Gothamites calling out to Batgirl than medieval images of hardworking peasants calling out to Saint XYZ** while the grinning Reaper peeks into their cottages? So even though I was griping earlier that “Oh, blah BLAH, why is Mirror doing this? I can’t get from A to B! BLAH BLAH!”, I get the pattern here. It’s the same pattern I’ve seen a million times, from Isis to Cuchulainn to Odysseus and so on. Bad shit goes down, we want not just a reason, but someone to fix it, to restore balance. But we can’t ever have perfection, we need a second someone to come in and fuck everything up.
Mirror needs to rail against the unpredictable nature of miracles, and the cruelty of chance (who’s deciding who lives, who dies, and when? Noone, really, and that can be a scary thought) And since this is a comic, he’s going to rail in an incredibly elaborate fashion, and take down as many people with him as he can. Including attempting to ruin the psyche of the hero.
BG’s already conflicted about her own miracle, so giving her a Kobiyashi Maru is an interesting move. I’m guessing, as a reader, that he wants to get under her skin (almost literally with the earpiece transmissions!). We get to see how this character (BG) handles certain defeat. There’s a very, very modern thing for you. A pretty nihilistic thing – no matter what you do it all goes to hell! But that *is* life, and the real story isn’t quite so much charging in and fixing the situation, but living with yourself the day after, kind of like how a lot of new zombie movies are about the world after “The Event“, whatever it may be. It’s still stories about our own psychology, the next step after the “someone to swoop in” phase in human storytelling.
The reason for this long derail from the issue is to say “I get it”.
Before I resume, I’d like to draw your attention to two silly things, things I must mention since I must complain. The first one is this panel, where BG tackles the guy she thinks Mirror is going to murder. And his reaction is not “holy shit” or “thank you, Batgirl”, it’s
Yep. Cause that’s what anyone would do in a situation like this. Next is this unfortunate closeup of what I swear to you is Mirror’s finger on a detonator. I don’t think the artists thought this one through all the way before saying “yeah, we need another closeup for the tension”