[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Philippe Briones
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Black Lightning, the Signal and Cassandra Cain are working very well together…but now they’re up against a foe who can tap directly into their worst emotions and play them like music! When you’ve seen the kinds of horrors these poor souls have, there’s plenty of trauma to work with…and with that, you can turn these heroes into deadly weapons! Meanwhile Batman’s “side project” has been revealed-what are the Brainiac Files, and what, exactly, does Batman plan to do with them?
In the first few panels, we find a Gotham under siege from the likes of Karma, and we also see a fractured version of the Bat Family, which is a result of the past few arcs before Hill showed on the book. We also get to see Cassandra Cain AKA Orphan in action, as the past few storylines, had her sitting on the sidelines or playing the “young ward”, but this time she is more than a bit player as she helps diffuse the bomb that Karma has placed.
Fans also get a straight up fist fight, one that in earlier arcs would be interrupted with some weaponized device. But this fight has Karma and Batman participating in a good old fashioned street brawl, something I feel Briones modernizes from the old Batman show with Adam West and Burt Ward, except this one is way more brutal and probably one of the worst beatings Bruce has taken since Bane, as Karma knows all his moves.
We also get to see to Jefferson in action as he ends up containing the bomb that Karma has set. In this book, his previous miniseries, and his current TV show, we have only seen some of his powers, but this give readers a look at another trick he has in the bag. Lastly, the difficult relationship between Bruce and Barbara is on full display at the end of the issue, leaving the air between the Bat Family tense and jagged.
There are no negatives worth mentioning in this issue.
Buy as this issue gives fans, a deeper look into the dynamics between the Bat Family, and how much of an obsessive-compulsive personality Bruce Wayne has. As his need to be in control of things, lead to the creation of Karma and to his temporary defeat by Karma. The story by Hill, I brisk, intelligent and powerful. The art by Briones is vivid and beautiful. This issue pivots from its last installment to something more than a bad guy of the week, to a past sins story.