Neither of these books have any connection to "Death of the Family," and yet they both had more references to the issue than Batgirl. Heck, this week's Nightwing book had more references to a Joker-Batgirl showdown than Batgirl!
A week has passed and I'm really seeing how little of a prologue that book was.
Anyway, on to the real reviews!
I was really amped up for this one because Lady Shiva was supposed to be used, but I only wound up with one present-day page about her, and so I was left feeling disappointed.
And it's not just that there was only one page; the one page was nowhere near Nightwing. This showdown is playing out like it's not going to last very long, which is a terrible move if that's what happens.
The first volume of the Batgirl comic (with Cassandra Cain as Batgirl) built up a showdown with Lady Shiva for more than a year's worth of issues. And when the showdown happened, it got most of the book and was a tremendous fight. Shiva is supposed to be one of the few villains who can do serious damage to Batman, and I think that trying to squeeze the Joker into this equation will wind up cramming this story into being a total waste.
Thankfully, one scene that wasn't crammed was Nightwing's dialogue with the Penguin. Penguin did a nice job of getting under Nightwing's skin, and I was really into it. (Unrelated note: I find it interesting that some writers like John Layman give Penguin a feeling like the one in the Arkham City game, while other books like this one give him the Burgess Meredith feeling. I like both, but I wish they could better reconcile those two.)
Nightwing's exchange with Batgirl was a fun read, but it was so inconsequential that it just felt forced. The timeline of that scene also creates an interesting path of reading to follow. Reading next month's Batgirl hopefully will help that scene feel more natural.
Overall, it isn't a bad read, and Shiva definitely proves competent (even if I could have called the twist ending the second they spotted the boat). That said, it was not one of the better efforts for this book.
I wish they hadn't burned Shiva now because her arc is going to be forgotten once Joker gets into the picture. Buy if you collect, but otherwise, you're not getting a strong arc nor are you getting anything that really affects DOTF.
I think I brought this up two months ago, but these covers are GROSSLY misleading. The cover this month has Blackfire choking Starfire and the title says she is at her mercy – a really compelling lead-in to the story...
If it was what was happening. What actually is going on is the two sisters are fighting side by side and (SPOILER) there is literally no betrayal or infighting anywhere in this book.
If you can get past the egregious false advertising, though, this is actually a really fun read. Starfire's friend has to make a tough decision to help end the war and it really feels like a big deal.
Additionally, it was nice to see the human characters assimilate so nicely with the Tamaranean army. Even Isabel (who is quickly becoming a must-retain character) has gotten over her initial confusion and freak-outs.
What I don't like is how we had to listen to the ENTIRE rally for the opposing army, even dragging the Green Lantern Corps into the story. This was dull and could have been cut down to maybe one word bubble and gotten the desired feeling.
But let's not lie: What people will care about is the final page or two. It becomes clear that DOTF will be coming to the book, and aside from the fact that I wish I had just looked at the spoiled page (this last page isn't THAT great), it will at least whet your appetite for what is coming.
It's the end of an arc so don't buy if you haven't been keeping up, but definitely read if you have and get ready for a Superman appearance next month!
A second blog today will be up for Catwoman #13, so keep an eye out. Lastly, as always, follow me at twitter.com/seantherebel and Like my page at www.facebook.com/SeanNetworkBlogs.