This week's issue, just like the rest, has a whole lot going on in terms of moving parts. Batgirl comes into the picture and, well, butts heads with Batman over the way he's dealing with Gordon. Jack Forbes, new Commish in Gordon's absence, continues to crusade against the Batman while Justin Bard continues to do what he can to get Jim Gordon out.
Layman and company keep the plot rolling well enough but some of the cogs are starting to show a bit of wear and, frankly, some of the characterization could be better! Jack Forbes, for example, is just coming off as one-dimensional. Who cares about collateral damage and the citizens just so long as Batman isn't the one holding the reigns of his career? Bard, ever the acolyte of Jim Gordon, is on the exact opposite end being written with just far too much naiveté for his own good.
Batman and Batgirl arguing was fine, for the most part, but it felt a bit forced as well. It brings up one of the biggest complaints I've had thus far about the book but I've waited on speaking about since, well, we're only four issues into this weekly bear of a run. Batman is kinda slow at getting to, well, detecting things so far. Making him the foil to Batgirl's being impetuous and rash regarding how Batso has been handling Gordon's incarceration and what not is fine and all but it just highlights how slow he's moving.
Thankfully the best part of the book comes in the form of Stephanie Brown. The Cluemaster's daughter gets some amazing panels thanks to Dustin Nguyen and colorist John Kalisz. She's been thrown out by her Dad and is left alone in Gotham. Everything around her is grimy and awful and she is so very alone. If the plotting in this one left something to be desired then the art helped make up for it. Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs did a wonderful job of making seamless transitions between lots of scenes and produced some genuinely gorgeous panels.
I'm finding I have to look at this more as a TV show when I try to evaluate it. It has a lot of parts, all of them are moving in different directions and, some weeks, it'll be better than others. This week's issue could have been better, story-wise, but made up for it with Nguyen's fantastic art direction.