The fallout from Damian’s death is still being felt in this series.
Formerly titled Batman and Robin, the series now goes by the name Batman and Batgirl.
Barbara Gordon is attempting to make amends with Bruce again after the fallout from “The Death of the Family” storyline, and trying to console Bruce as he deals with the death of his son, Damian.
This issue is a step in the right direction, as much of the emotional baggage the characters have been carrying is beginning to be dealt with.
The aftermath from the death of Damian is coming to an end, and now Batgirl will take his place in this series. I think adding Batgirl is a welcome change to the series. Damian definitely has his fans, but he has been a controversial character that has split the fan base on his likability. Barbara Gordon is a classic and overall well liked character, and while Damian’s supporters will miss him, I think it is hard to object to Barbara getting to tandem with Batman.
As for the issue itself, I really enjoyed it. The pacing is very strong, the reader is never left in one situation for too long, this keeps the story fresh, and it never gets boring.
There is a lot happening in this issue. There are two great sections where Batman and Batgirl mop the floor with armed robbers and drug dealers. It is nice to see the team in action. Sometimes Batman stories can get muddled down because of ongoing story lines, and grand crimes plotted out by the gallery of villains. While it I have no issues with epic stories or grand schemes in a Batman comic, it is always refreshing to see them on the street fighting crime wherever they can find it. It cannot be forgotten that Gotham is a violent city, and that the crime does not stop while Bat family is dealing with various crises, whether it be with the villains or internally with each other.
When the action is not packing a punch, the quieter sections are. Barbara is dealing with a lot of emotional baggage, and she is looking to begin the healing process, and get on with her life. She must come to terms with her role in the death of her murderous brother. Also, she seeks to resolve her estrangement from Batman, and help as he deals with the death of Damian.
While this series has to deal with all of the emotional trauma heaped onto the Bat family recently, there are signs that brighter days may be coming for them. Barbara wants to move on from her troubles, and demands that Bruce move on from his. This is the direction the Bat family needs go in, they have had far too much baggage thrown on them lately, and they need to be freed of it in order for the stories to start progressing the right way. Batman and Batgirl still have more work to do to overcome their individual and shared troubles, but Barbara is demanding they confront their issues, and that is a positive sign.
Reactions to this new direction the series is taking is likely to met with some mixed reviews. This was the series that Damian was heavily featured in, and naturally the series’ dedicated readers were most likely Damian fans. Even after his death, there was still the aftermath, and the possibility of resurrection to keep the Damian fans interested. However, it now looks like Damian is moving further and further away in the rearview mirror, and there is a chance the audience for this series is changing as result of that.
The writer is Peter J. Tomasi, and the penciller is Cliff Richards, who is the guest penciller for this issue. Tomasi’s story and dialogue were both good. The writing was crisp and the comic read very naturally. Cliff Richards did a great job on art. His Batman and Batgirl both looked great, and the storytelling was strong.
I was happy to read this issue. The Batman corner of the DC universe has had to carry a lot of baggage, especially in the last six months. This issue shows promise that various burdens will soon be lifted from the Bat family, which will give the writers more freedom to tell stories in the future.