The good times continue in this volume as Barbara Gordon finds out that her dad is the new Batman. How does this happen? Well, like any responsible parent, Commissioner Jim Gordon tells his daughter straight up. It’s a nice scene that bucks expectations and leads to some interesting dramatic irony when Nu-Batman meets Batgirl as she’s facing off against Livewire. Once the initial meet-awkward is out of the way between the two superheroes, they eventually team up to take down the villain that has writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher cleverly inverting the usual “Batman” dynamic. Barbara takes the lead here and leads her dad to victory, along with some good-natured ribbing along the lines of, “This is the part where you’re supposed to vanish on me” at the end. The situation with the current Batman does put an interesting spin on this straightforward superhero team-up story, though you’re left wondering how a top cop like Jim Gordon can’t seem to recognize his daughter even when she’s wearing her bat-gear.
As for the other stories in this volume, they follow along the same agreeably fun lines. We have an annual where Barbara investigates some missing diplomats and doesn’t meet up with the presumed-dead Dick Grayson. She does, however, meet up with all of the other notable female characters in the bat-family to solve this mystery. Then Barbara gets involved in a series of tiger-related killings that involve some of the people closest to her, and follows it up by being a bridesmaid at the wedding of her friends Alysia and Jo — where she actually does meet up with Dick. None of the stories here reinvent the wheel as far as superhero storytelling goes. As was the case last time, it’s the art of Babs Tarr that really distinguishes the book by giving it some real energy and fun. This time around she gets an assist from several other capable artists, particularly Bengal who walks the tightrope of maintaining artistic consistency while demonstrating his own style with aplomb. Overall, this is still a good read if you’re looking for something different in a bat-book.