[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
“Full Circle” part one! In addition to her vigilante life as Batgirl, Barbara Gordon also fought crime behind the scenes as Oracle. Now she’s taking it one step further—working to stop crimes before they happen. Her first target? Bringing down the Calculator’s intricate network of super-villains. Huntress and Black Canary are concerned she might be going too far, and it could put them all in the crosshairs when a new evildoer arrives to settle the score on behalf of the Calculator.
The plot of this issue is driven by Barbara’s actions and who she is as a person. Her desire to put a stop to the Calculator and his operations seduces her into some questionable decisions. Barbara’s actions lead to some serious consequences and it’s interesting how these consequences take the story from quintessential Birds of Prey tone, action and feel to Barbara deciding to “kill” Oracle. Will this stick? Probably, not. But, it’s the beginning of an interesting journey for Barbara to find a new definition of safety for her family and friends. One would also imagine that Gus’s murder at the hands of Burnrate will only harden the Birds’ resolve to take down the Calculator permanently.
Barbara’s visit to Poison Ivy is a nice touch as it contrasts a risky move on Barbara’s part that has paid off to her current situation which seems to be going sideways from her very quickly. While Helena’s visit to her mother in prison certainly raises a ton of questions, it also shows some development of her character. It could be a set up for her getting hurt all over again, but reaching out to her mother shows her character developing.
The opening sequence of this issue is classic Birds of Prey and it takes one back to the very beginning of the concept. While it’s clear this may never become the status quo again, it’s absolutely wonderful to experience it for a few moments.
It should be noted that Roge Antonio knows how to depict a facial expression effectively and add to the overall telling of the story!
While the questions of morality and responsibility raised by Barbara’s actions are an opportunity for exploration and character growth, I tend to be leery of story lines that heap too much blame on the actions of the heroes. Sure, no one is perfect, but having someone’s murder on one’s conscience is pretty heavy stuff. I don’t want to see this book lose the fun aspects. Also, I don’t want to see Oracle go away after just getting her back!
This is a great start to a new story arc. The opening sequence hits all the right notes as Oracle and the Birds are in classic form. The story itself raises some serious moral dilemmas that should prove captivating as Barbara attempts to sort out what’s happened. It appears that Helena will do some growing as well as she has reached out to her mother.