Ever since Gail Simone’s return from her brief hiatus, this series has progressively gotten better and better. The beginning of her run was filled with chaos and numerous deaths, to highlight Barbara’s discomfort returning to the life of fighting crime. Two years later, Simone has developed Barbara into a hero that is much more comfortable in her own skin. She’s almost back to being as confident as she was during her time as Oracle, which in turn has made her a smarter and stronger crime fighter. Simone has also integrated more humor, more of her personal life, basically she’s brought a more light-hearted touch to the story, creating a better balance to the series itself. The best part of this issue was Barbara’s date. From the beginning where she totally forgot about her date to the goodnight kiss, everything was written well and illustrated wonderfully. 4.5/5
When it comes to stories set in the past, there are always going to be pros and cons. On the one hand, you have a great opportunity to re-introduce popular villains with newer, more contemporary origins. Specifically with Batman, there haven’t been that many stories chronicling his time before being Batman, so that has great potential for stories untold. On the flipside, however, stories set in the past hold the drawback of not specifically being pertinent to stories set in the present. In a standalone mini-series, that isn’t a problem, however, with an ongoing series you’re essentially removing one of DC’s title characters from the universe for about a year. Scott Snyder’s flashback story, now on its second month, is looking to be a great untold story from Batman’s past. His writing is as smart and entertaining as ever, the pacing of the story flows well, and as a fan of the Riddler I can’t wait to see where he goes with this character. Twelve issues is a long time for a story set in the past, but if anyone can make it work, Snyder can. 4/5
How do you make a Superman story interesting? Put Batman in it. Obviously that isn’t necessarily true, otherwise Superman wouldn’t be as popular as he is, however it’s not necessarily untrue either. Batman doesn’t make a Superman story interesting just because he’s Batman, which helps, rather it’s because he’s a mortal human. The thing about Superman is that he’s almost indestructible. He’s just too powerful for practically everything that originates on Earth. So then you have to ask yourself, how is this guy ever in danger, how can he have a rogues gallery, how can there be a story where he is not the obvious victor. There are a couple solutions to this. The first is obviously kryptonite, but after a while that easily gets overused. The second is aliens, which is an endless supply of potential villains, but seeing as he lives on Earth that’s not exactly something that you can use over and over again. This is where humans come in. Their mortality brings in the suspense and danger that would otherwise be lacking. That brings us to this issue, which was an improvement on the first issue. There was more in-depth plot involved here, it wasn’t just flashy action scenes, and that made all the difference. The other solar powered being’s entrance was the perfect cliffhanger to the issue as well. The backup story, which was all about Batman, was fantastic and did a great job of highlighting Batman and Superman’s relationship. 4/5
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