For those of you who have been reading Snyder’s run on Detective Comics and have been wondering what happened to James Gordon Jr., you’ll start to find out in this issue. The issue was essentially split into two stories. The first half concluded Gordon Jr.’s introduction to the series. Gordon Jr. has an interesting, albeit creepy, conversation with his father concluding with his declaration of staying in town. Meanwhile, the second half of the issue follows Dick Grayson, still feeling the effects of the toxin, on patrol with Tim Drake. After Tim unconvincingly implores Dick to rest a little more, the two stumble across a new villain in Gotham.
What this issue spotlights above all, is Snyder’s ability to write a stellar script. The entire scene between Gordon and son, which takes place in a harmless diner, keeps you on edge and satisfyingly freaked. From Gordon Jr.’s blasé admittance of being a psychopath, to his unnerving joke about killing the waitress, Snyder is able to depict this character as being a terrifying monster, with just a few words. 4.5/5
While this series hasn’t been great for a while, this issue does a good job of leading the series back into that direction. When we last saw Harley, the rage had taken over and she had made the decision to take out Joker, for good. The issue starts with Harley expressing just how easy it is to break into Arkham; apparently all you need is four items. The first item is marbles, used to distract a guard, the second a fabric flower, used to knock out the director of Arkham, and the third item is a crowbar, used to enrage Clayface. The fourth item is a nail, though we won’t know why until the next issue.
I thought this issue was great. Harley is often portrayed as the sidekick, or the childish one, and here we finally get a Harley that does service to her past as an intelligent psychologist. I thought the way they handled each of the flashbacks, in order to explain the significance of the items, was done well and efficiently. Other than Selina and Ivy being absent from the issue, I thought that this was a really strong start into the next arc. 3.5/5
We’re now nine issues into this series, and I’m of the opinion that the forest that has taken up residence in Star City needs to leave. The magical forest has drawn the attention of the likes of Phantom Stranger, Dr. Mid-Nite, Mr. Terrific, and even Poison Ivy (who seems to be everywhere but her own series). The most recent turn of events came when the forest separated Etrigan from Jason Blood. Green Arrow, Blood, and Galahad, the forest’s self ordained protector, take on Etriga, who unfortunately is able to corrupt the forest. Though the forest has sheltered Green Arrow and Galahad, the two are unable to battle it nor prevent it from taking Galahad captive.
As I mentioned, I think the best thing for this series would be for the forest to leave. I feel it draws too much attention to itself and doesn’t really leave room for the title character to shine. That being said, since it hasn’t left, this issue was good. There are a lot of different elements that really add to the overall story; from Jason Blood/Etrigan’s history, to the mystery behind Galahad, as well as the underlying role all of this will play in the Brightest Day story. It’s a nice story, but I think that this series could have used a little more Green Arrow from the beginning and a little less Brightest Day. 3/5
The second half of the crossover with Red Robin takes place here, and the conclusion may surprise some of you. The issue starts with a great side-by-side portrayal of Damian and Tim’s current mindset. From there, the Teen Titans work together to collect and eradicate all of Calculator’s exploding robots. The team corners Calculator in an underground hideout, where they have to deal with even more robots. In a fit of rage, Cassie almost kills Calculator, before she is stopped by Red Robin, only to have Robin kill Calculator, who is in fact another robot. Tim and Damian have a bit of a heart to heart, where Damian decides to leave.
I thought that this issue was decent. The art was nice, though inconsistent at times. More importantly, though, I thought that the plot was a little weak. A robot Calculator doesn’t really feel like a threat, or at least not one that would require the entire team. My biggest issue, however, was the decision to have Damian leave the team. While I understand the dilemma of having both Damian and Tim, I thought that Damian made a great addition to the team. Plus, as far as I know, Tim isn’t joining as a permanent member anyway. 3/5
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