Writer: Brendan Fletcher
Penciller: Eleanor Carlini
I’m impressed that we get to open this with a nice action sequence almost entirely set around Stephanie Brown in action as Spoiler.
She’s made a few fun guest appearances throughout this run, so it’s nice to get her back again at the opening. Although, I have to admit that it’s kind of weird that Barbara berates Frankie for sending Spoiler and Bluebird into action by themselves. Mostly because we as readers have seen Stephanie as Batgirl even if that’s not clearly defined as something that happened in this continuity. It’s still a very strange scene because Barbara’s first major interaction with Spoiler and Bluebird in this current run was a team-up in which both handled themselves really well.
Batgirl of course gets to spring into action in a surprisingly dynamic sequence because this is not a very action-heavy book, most of the time. Barbara’s worried that her reaction time is getting sluggish, that she’s slowing down, which allows us to see a little more of how she’s handling things, psychologically and just get into a little bit of what being Batgirl means to her.
Then, right after that, things get more typical for this book as we have a very intimate scene between Luke and Barbara getting into what each of them wants and expects from this relationship. It’s very well drawn, which is almost kind of disappointing, because it’s the sort of scene we’ve seen so much before. Almost every issue, we get something that is almost this exact conversation and if the first big intimate moment between them had been drawn this well, we wouldn’t need to keep going back to that well so often.
And Gladius isn’t the most dynamic villain we’ve ever had even in this run so it seems weird to close out with her, as we appear to be doing. There’s still a lot of fun to be had in the issue. Great, sweet and sincere character moments, particularly between Barbara and Luke and Barbara and Frankie. The trip to Gotham Academy is probably the highlight of the issue. Definitely fun to be had here, even if it’s a bit of a mixed bag.