Within the group of DC books that I read, this book was surrounded in the most controversy. Barbara Gordon is Batgirl once again, and she couldn’t be happier. This issue plays out on two fronts that eventually come together at the end. One part follows the trail of a new creepy villain that goes by The Mirror. What is especially wicked about this character is that his first victim is taken out in broad daylight. Gail Simone does a fantastic job introducing him in this manner, because it gives him a sense of mystery, but more importantly it makes him/her look formidable. The majority of the story follows Barbara on her first run as Batgirl since the miracle that gave her her legs back. She flawlessly takes on three thugs, saving two civilians, and later moves into her own apartment. Barbara is shown to be very ecstatic about being back in the suit, the action scenes are great, and her interactions with the supporting cast are also well done. The biggest issue I had with this book was how young Barbara felt. I understand that DC de-aged nearly everyone, however, she feels mentally much younger than what we are accustomed to. She mentions that she was shot three years ago, but in the issue it almost feels like she hasn’t grown past it, in the way that Oracle had. Simone does a commendable job briefly acknowledging her time in a wheelchair and the growth that has come out of it. However, it almost feels like all that mental growth and acceptance we witnessed while she was Oracle has disappeared. 3.5/5
I’ve been a fan of Tony Daniel’s art ever since his run on Batman started, and I’ve quickly become a fan of his writing, so I couldn’t be more excited for his first time writing Bruce. The issue starts off with a fantastic bang, first with an appearance from one of comics’ most recognizable villains, followed immediately with an awesome splash spread of Batman racing across the Gotham rooftops. The issue continues to get even more exciting from that point. Joker, who has been around for ages, is just as crazy as ever, and actually he seems just a tad even more unstable. Batman’s relations with the Gotham PD has regressed a tad, as everyone on the force, except for Gordon, are back to hating him. This is an interesting change and I’m wondering what the reasoning is for this. Regardless, it was kind of exciting to see Batman have to work at being a hero while avoiding being shot at by the police. Inevitably Joker gets caught, but all is not as it seems, because as it turns out, he wanted to get caught. One of the greatest things about Joker is that he’s smart and he’s portrayed that way in this issue.
Tony Daniel’s story and script in this issue are excellent. There is a nice layer of suspense and intrigue in addition to the action and drama. We’ve heard that the Bat-universe is, for the most part, remaining untouched, however, there are slight tweaks here and there that may surprise you. Daniel’s art is fantastic. His line-work is sharp, the details are intricate, and the characters look great. 4.5/5
One year later and we’ve now got a new Green Arrow #1. From the very beginning of this issue you can see the changes that have occurred. The most apparent, albeit probably not as important, is the physical difference. Green Arrow’s uniform is a bit more modern, more technologically advanced, and Ollie’s recognizable goatee is gone, for the better I’d say. Story-wise there are also a couple striking changes. Ollie is back at Queen Industries, and he’s very involved in the company, so much so that he takes part in a meeting while on patrol as Green Arrow. Furthermore, we get word that Queen Industries is now a major powerhouse, so powerful that they’re insulted to be considered contemporaries of Waynetech, Lexcorp, or Holt Industries. While on patrol, Ollie apprehends three hoodlums with help from two new sidekicks. I’m sure it’s going to be this way for a bunch of the new 52 books, but the most distracting aspect of this otherwise good issue, is that continuing readers don’t exactly know what part of the history remains and what’s now gone. Clearly there are major changes in Green Arrow’s life, Queen Industries and the two new sidekicks are a glaring one, but what I want to know is what this means for the rest of the Arrow family. What does this mean for Connor and Mia, was Roy still his past sidekick, and is his marriage with Black Canary still in his history? 3.5/5
In order to fully grasp what my review of this book means, you need to understand that prior to reading this I held the opinion that Swamp Thing was one of the most ridiculous characters I’ve ever heard of. That being said, I thought this book was fantastic. From the very beginning Snyder sets the foundation for a tremendous story. The story mainly follows Alec Holland as he attempts to live his life imbued with the memories of a different person. The best part of this book is the way Alec is written. The way he speaks and thinks, Snyder does a great job of bringing substance to the character. Other than a visit by Superman, a rather intimidating visit, Alec’s portion of the book is a rather light, carefree read. We’re just getting to know the character, we’re slowly being introduced, and I think that works fantastically. But all is not safe, as this is Scott Snyder writing the story. Darkness is afoot, which is initially demonstrated by the dying animals, and later demonstrated with the grotesque creature lurking around.
As ridiculous and unsatisfying as it was having Swamp Thing’s appearance conclude Brightest Day, it allowed for this story by Scott Snyder. As a new reader I can honestly say that this was both reader friendly and interesting. There is enough character development as well as plot development that makes this book a really strong opener. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Yanick Paquette’s run on Batman Inc., but his art here is excellent. 4.5/5
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