Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Alvaro Martinez
Inks by: Raul Fernandez
Colors by: Brad Anderson
Release Date: 2/28/18
The circumstances that first brought Bruce Wayne together with Kate Kane are showcased in the first pages of this new issue. As with anything connected to the world of the Batman, it starts with death. This time, it is at the funeral for Kate’s mother and the two young children bond as they share their own tragedies. A bond in pain that continues to this day as an adult Kate wakes in her home, remembering the look on the face of Orphan after she is confronted about pulling the trigger that killed Clayface.
In Burnside, Barbara and Dick are having a back and forth about what happened in Gotham and discussing what they’ve been asked to do next. As the Bat-Family begins to gather in the manor, Cassandra is stuck with Alfred. All of them gather in the cave and there is a great shot of them all standing around Bruce as he tells them that he needs their help to make a decision about Kate. He lays out the fact that they are his family and the people he trusts. Meanwhile, Kate refuses to be sidelined and is taking on a group of ape gangsters while Luke is working on something. It looks like Kate, Luke and Jean Paul might be contemplating going out on their own.
Batman, Batgirl, Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood and Nightwing are all sitting around a conference table in the Bat-Cave and when they finally start to speak, some uncomfortable revelations and questions are brought to the surface. Tim has to come to grips with the fact that what he’s been trying to build might be based on a lie. Jason takes an unlikely position both personally and professionally and Barbara lays out some pretty hard truth to everyone, especially Batman in a moment that I found to be some of the best dialogue I’ve read in a long time. It was gripping and played out with lyrical grace.
I loved this issue. No big bad. No end of the world event. This was an issue about what it means to wear the symbol and whether or not Bruce made the right call in giving one to Kate. Putting Bruce on the defensive is a hard thing to convey, but those moments where he was emotionally disarmed added some great emotional and narrative layers to this story. I was impressed with it on multiple levels and especially impressed with the portrayal of Barbara.