Batgirl/Barbara Gordon’s brother James has returned and has been terrorizing her and their mutual parents.  So it comes down to a final life or death confrontation.  In order to save her mother, can Babs actually kill her own brother?  Or perhaps an even better question, can her mother (also named Barbara) kill her own son, to save her daughter?

In other news, as has been reported elsewhere, Babs’ surly roommate Alysia reveals that she is transgender.

There has been a lot of debate as to what did and did not still exist, pre-New 52, especially in regard to Babs and “The Killing Joke” and whether or not she had been Oracle.  The events of “The Killing Joke” appear to remain intact, but little of what came after feels the same way.  It doesn’t look like she was ever Oracle.  A lot of that gets addressed her as Barbara has to come clean to Alysia after the events of “Death in the Family.”  (She holds back on her double identity, though.)

Thanks to thoughtful narration, we get to witness that not only is Babs’ confrontation with her brother physically brutal, but emotionally, as well.  I can’t say that he was given the best rationale for him homicidal tendencies, but it worked out well enough and their confrontation was very tense and well done.

Writer Gail Simone has wanted to introduce a normal transgender character, as she feels that that demographic has been ignored by the media and I think Alysia is a great debut.  I like that Simone has already made her slightly unlikeable, as LGBT characters tend to be saintly and perfect in a lot of translations (see Archie Comics’ Kevin Kellar).  To make her snarky and sarcastic, makes her a nice foil to those anti-stereotypes.

The art is very solid.  It’s not my favorite.  It’s not overly stylized, but it’s very good and suits the book well.

So in all, this was a solid issue.  Good writing, dialogue and solid art.

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Daniel Sampere
Cover by Eddy Barrows