Artist: Daniel Sampere
This is a series I've really been enjoying as of late and like a lot of people I was upset to hear that series writer Gail Simone had been fired from the series. Luckily it was announced that DC had given her job back, but this has effected the series leaving it with a different writer for this issue, and the next, with Simone returning on issue 19.
This issue sees Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) dealing with life after her encounter with the Joker in Death of the Family, whilst she has family problems of a different kind when her brother James Gordon Jr. hatches a plan.
I truly didn't know what to expect with a new writer as I've been really enjoying Simone's run. I also have to start out by saying that Ray Fawkes has a totally different writing style than Simone, and it shows through. This feels like a completely different series, and I'm not won over yet. Don't get me wrong Fawkes isn't a bad writer, and the story at it's core is decent enough, it's just the style that has perplexed me, as although change is sometimes nice it's confusing, and not always for the better. The confusing point is that the story is in a third person dialog, whereas most of the story in the past has been from Babs herself. It does however make perfect sense nearer the end of the issue, and despite the confusion makes the change almost worth while. I will surely have a much clearer opinion on this in the next issue as I know what to expect.
I'm really happy that Daniel Sampere is doing the art on this issue as I'm not a huge fan of two artist on the same issue (like a couple of Death of the Family issues did), and although Ed Benes did a good job on the last few issues (along with Sampere), I much prefer Sampere's art. The art is simply stunning and Sampere couldn't have done a better job. Apart from producing a lot of detail in his artwork, Sampere has given some beautiful artwork during the action sequences, and I loved how he used the fire to it's best advantage. I also liked the couple of panels which had Batgirl shown as a silhouette. The emotion in his artwork was also fabulous, and I especially liked how he drew Commissioner Gordon very serious when it came to him setting the GCPD on his son, which couldn't have been an easy choice, but I'll talk more about that later on in my review.
I was looking forward to seeing the class between these two siblings, and although I was slightly disappointed it didn't happen in this issue, I was happy that it was though out a bit, not just jumping in to Babs and James Gordon Jr. fighting.
The thing I probably liked the most about this issue was how James was used. It would have been easy as I said to have Babs go out looking for her brother, especially after his contribution to Joker's schemes in the last few issues, but the story needs to see James as the baddie. It also needs to see that James won't get his hands messy, as he's a manipulator who uses other people, and predicaments to achieve his goals for him. I will however be looking forward to seeing Babs get her hands on her brother, as he has a lot to answer for.
It was also interesting to see Commissioner Gordon put out an arrest warrant on his own son for being among the Joker accomplices. It's well known that the Commissioner and his son haven't been close, and it's also known that James Jr. has always been a bad boy, so this wasn't a shock to me. What I did however like from this sequence was the emotion in the Commissioner, as although he knew that it was the right thing to do, he was still conflicted about whether he'd done the right thing as a father.
WARNING: SMALL SPOILER AHEAD!
The action in this issue was also very good, and probably the best thing about the issue. There was however a small thing that bugged me. Before the flashback it showed Batgirl flying towards a missile. It is later shown that Batgirl catches the missile with what appears to be a bag, redirecting it into what I assume is a vacant apartment. I understand her having something that can redirect a missile, but a bag. What's it got rubber at the bottom. It just doesn't make sense to me, as the missile should have made a hole in the bag, and continued on it's trajectory. This is the only silly moment I can recall in the issue, and if I'm slightly, or totally wrong about it, or missed something else silly please leave a comment.
This was a decent issue, and although I personally prefer Simone's writing on this series Fawkes gives something different, and unique. I don't know whether to recommend this issue or not. I'd probably say yes, especially if you've already been following the series. I'd also recommend it to newer readers, and people who don't like Simone's run (although I'm not one of them I know there are some, all series have lovers, and haters) as this is a very different type of writing.