"Breathless" and "There Would Be No Spring"
Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Ed Benes, Eduardo Barrerto and Andrew Pepoy
Publisher: D.C. Comics
With the Clocktower destroyed during the War Zone crossover, we see Barbara decides it's time to move on, but before turning her back on Gotham City, she joins the Huntress and Black Canary on one final mission, as they pay a visit to a drug den. As the story ends we get a look at Barbara's new mobile base of operations. As for the second story, we're introduced to the newest member of the book's supporting cast, as Lady Blackhawk becomes Barbara's personal pilot.
This issue sets about introducing the book's new status quo, but truth be told cutting off all ties with Gotham City isn't exactly a bold new direction, as the one thing that I've always enjoyed about this series is that it never got too caught up in its ties to the Batman universe. I mean with "War Zone" currently raging through the Batman books, it's worth noting that this title didn't get pulled in, and the only impact the crossover had on this title was to make the gap even wider, as Barbara & company have effectively packed their bags and left Gotham City behind. I also can't say I'm all that broken up that the Clocktower was destroyed, as frankly the place had played host to a few too many invasions that it had become pretty difficult to sell the idea that it was a secure location for Barbara to operate from. Plus I rather like the idea of a secret base that is in continual motion, and having the secret base come complete with an intriguing new supporting player makes me like the idea even more. Now I do hope that by taking the show out of Gotham City we'll see more interaction with the rest of the DCU, as while Black Canary's missions have brought her into contact with numerous characters, I'm looking forward to seeing this trend continue with Barbara and the Huntress, who have both been pretty much confined to the Gotham city limits. As for the second story, the cover's claim that it's an action-packed adventure is an outright lie, as Lady Blackhawk's backstory is a character study, but it's a very engaging story, and I'm looking forward to more attention being directed the character's way.
Ed Benes' work on this issue had a rougher edge to it, and I have to say I rather enjoyed the less polished appearance, as it lent itself more readily to the issue's darker tone, with the scene where Barbara decides to leave Gotham behind being the biggest benefactor of this altered style. The art also does a nice job when it comes to its delivery of the action, though I do have to make mention of the Huntress' tiny little crossbow gun, as it looks like the art was altered after the fact to explain how that handgun wound up shooting arrows. There's also a nice little quiet moment in the opening pages as the art is called up to convey the impact of the Clocktower's destruction. As for Eduardo Barrerto's work on the second story, it could use a little more detailing on its backgrounds, but for the most part the art managed to clearly convey the key elements of the story, from Ms. Blake's frustration at being grounded, to her devil may care attitude when she steals the Citation X.
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