Batgirl is hot on the trail of a skilled murderer who has a problem with miracles. This issue can be split into three separate portions. The first part is a race against time as Batgirl races to the train station in order to save a man who cheated death. She comes up with an interesting solution only to have it all blow up in her face, literally. The twist at the end of this scene was great, I certainly didn’t see it coming. In fact, up until that moment all I could think about was that Batgirl’s plan was farfetched and a tad reckless. The second part, which is also the shortest, had Barbara meet up with her dad, Commissioner Gordon. I always felt Gordon knew a lot more about Batgirl than he let on, which only made their meeting that much more awkward. The rest of the issue played out as Batgirl and Nightwing come face to face for the first time in the new DC universe. Their interaction goes from a light playful banter to an almost irrational assault by Barbara. I say almost irrational, because while it does seem a bit over the top, it isn’t necessarily an out of the blue response from someone that is already feeling self conscious. Overall, I thought the Batgirl/Nightwing scene was well done. The most important thing coming out of it being that Barbara’s use of her legs isn’t necessarily permanent, and that Dick, Bruce, and Gordon believe she’s putting herself in a position that would eventually put her back in a wheelchair. A sentiment Barbara was not pleased with. 4/5
After a terrible beginning and a half decent second issue, Tomasi and Gleason have finally settled in and deliver their best issue yet. Starting with what has been a glaring weak point in the first two issues, Damian. He finally feels like the Damian we all thought we once knew. His interaction with Alfred and Bruce felt less forced and more true to the character. Showing him lose to Alfred at chess one minute, and whine about not going out on patrol the next works wonders at displaying the type of character that Damian is. Tomasi takes this one step further later on in the issue when Damian goes on patrol and beats the living hell out of a crook, but then refuses to kill him. Tomasi’s handling of Bruce and Alfred is just as well done. He perfectly captures the essence of each character and lets their respective histories take the wheel when interacting with Damian. Alfred, who has done the bulk of the raising of the Robins, skillfully and intelligently is able to plant a tracker on Damian, while Bruce, for his own peculiar reasons, gets Damian a dog to reward him for not killing people. The character development aside, there was also a nice bit of action laced into the story that makes for a fantastic read. 4/5
One thing that has been bugging me since issue #1 is that I don’t find Kate to be anywhere near likable as I did in her run on Detective Comics. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but while I love her supporting cast (Bette and Maggie especially), Kate seems a bit stiff and closed off. That being said, this issue is still absolutely fantastic.The story progresses quite nicely in this issue with Batwoman getting closer to her growing list of enemies, while her personal life is beginning to crumble. Batwoman’s first encounter with the Weeping Woman was beautifully executed; the art was haunting and the overall mood of those pages was perfectly in tune with the writing and the art. I mentioned it in last week’s reviews, but this is something that must be said over and over again, colorists do not get the recognition they deserve, in general but specifically at DC. J.H. Williams III’s art is beautiful, no question about it, but the colors in this book take his art to a whole new level. We no longer live in a time where colorists put in a block of color behind the artist’s line work. Color theory and its practical use are an integral part of creating a cohesive connection between the writing and the art. I think that Dave Stewart does a tremendous job of demonstrating that here in this book. With every color choice he dictates the mood, the tone, and direction of the reader’s eye, which is really important here because Williams III puts so much detail on every page. Artistically, this is one of the most unique and well executed series on the market, same goes for the story. At the end of the book, after having faced the Weeping Woman, the DEO, and after firing Bette, Kate finally just lets go and I think, for me at least, that was the point where she started to feel more relatable, more human. 4.5/5
Having lived the majority of his brief life in captivity, Superboy finally gets a taste of freedom in this issue. When his mission for N.O.W.H.E.R.E. (which, it must be said, is the most annoying name in comics) goes south, Superboy ends up miles away from where he started with a new understanding of his powers. After witnessing the extent of his powers at this early stage, I think that the idea that he has to consciously think about his powers in order for them to activate is a smart inclusion. Being part Kryptonian and part meta-human (I’m not too familiar with Fairchild) makes him arguably one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe, so anything that would slow him down is a welcome idea. As is expected, Superboy’s initial interaction with the general public is a mixture of awkwardness and panic, though mostly awkwardness. Meanwhile, Rose and Caitlin have harsh words and go their separate ways. While I’m not too familiar with Caitlin and don’t really have an opinion of her, I’ve always been a fan of Rose’s, and I think she has the potential of being a great supporting character. Overall I thought that in terms of story and art, this issue was consistently good throughout. And while I wouldn’t argue that this series be considered as one of the best of DC’s books, it is certainly a reliable source for entertainment and has the potential of being amazing. 4/5
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