There’s a new villain in Gotham and he has his eyes set on victims that survived near death experiences. We last left off with Barbara being frozen with fear when confronted by fear, allowing the Mirror to reach his latest victim. While he does escape, she later succeeds in tracking him down and figuring out his identity. Meanwhile, outside the costume, we see Barbara living her life, getting closer to her landlady, and even going on a date. Unfortunately, Barbara not only has the Mirror to deal with, but Gotham PD is coming after her as well.
I still have mixed feelings about this book, and I’ll tell you why. I don’t like young Barbara. I get that a bunch of DC characters have de-aged as a result of the reboot, but of all the characters I read none of them show it as much as Barbara does. What has always been great about her and Dick is the growth they’d both gone through. In this case, Barbara feels young, too young, younger than Stephanie Brown young. On both an emotional and physical level, she feels nothing like I would imagine Oracle being like if she had regained the use of her legs. 3.5/5
Now that the Dynamic Duo has been reformed, with Father and Son, villains beware! The issue starts off with Bruce and Alfred studying a remarkably agile, conniving, and strong Damian, while discussing the boy’s mental state. There’s also this really great spread that recaps Damian’s highlights since birth, which includes a fairly important ret-con, in my opinion. This whole scene, the worrying father and grandfather bit, plays out fairly well. It’s all believable, except for the fact that it feels out place with regards to the timeline. Meaning all of this feels like it should begin with a “one year ago” caption. Tomasi brings in the villain from the first issue once again, and once again it’s awkward, slightly confusing, and altogether a mismatch with the rest of the issue.
Two issues in and I am so utterly confused as to the direction of this book that nothing else really matters. Bruce actively trying to be a good father? That’s great and all, but it is not an entirely original concept. He’s been a father of sorts to more than a handful of children, granted none of those were raging psychopaths, which brings me to my point. When did Damian turn into this crazed little freak? He has always had an attitude, he’s always been a bit annoying, and he’s always been cockier than necessary, but in recent years his character had grown exponentially. Killing a bat with his bare hands is maybe something Damian would have done when he was first introduced, maybe not even then, but certainly not now. What we have here is a version of Damian in which someone took an eraser and eradicated the last five years. 3/5
Batwoman faces multiple threats in this excellent second issue. Outside the costume, a driven government agent is out to uncover who is behind the mask, and she’s willing to go through anyone to figure it out. Under the mask, Batwoman isn’t doing much better either. There is a murderer going around kidnapping and killing children, and neither the cops nor Batwoman are any closer to finding out who the culprit is. Not only that, Batwoman is having difficulties with her protégée Betty.
What I think is absolutely great about this book is that it doesn’t need to be outlandish or flashy. It’s not that I don’t enjoy that stuff, believe me I do, but what works for this book is that it isn’t that. What we have here is a solid story with remarkable artwork. I’m actually inclined to say that the art is a greater component than the writing. I mean, the story is great and all, Kate makes for a very compelling character, but the art takes that story, this character, to a whole new level. It’s a shame that you almost never hear about the colorist, because while I think the art is the strongest point of the whole book, I feel the colors play that role for the art. 4.5/5
This issue does a bit of back and forth using flashbacks that could possibly confuse some readers, but is otherwise quite interesting. We witness how Superboy was able to single-handedly neutralize the lab’s defenses. He displays a level of power and control over his tactile telekinesis that the old Conner never had, and that’s kind of exciting. Unfortunately, that makes him the perfect weapon for N.O.W.H.E.R.E., who immediately begin to test his powers and abilities on the battlefield. On this mission he gets paired up with Rose Wilson, which is a great pairing; the two have a nice feel to them.
A part of me is always going to miss the Superboy I know and love, but another part of me is really enjoying this new direction. First of all, and most importantly probably, this kid is tremendously powerful, and he’s still just a kid. The previous version of Superboy got stronger the longer he lived out in the open, and if that happens to be the case here, there is no doubt in my mind that Superboy will be able to rip Superman to shreds. And then there’s the fact that this Superboy just might actually do that. The transition phase from emotionless robot to lovable superhero is a tough one, but from what I’ve read it doesn’t seem like it will be a problem for this creative team. Was the issue perfect? No, but perfect is overrated anyway. This was a solid followup to the first issue and I will continue looking forward to it. 4/5
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