By Frank Miller (writer), Jim Lee (pencils), Scott Williams (inks), Alex Sinclair (colors)

I’ve got one word to describe this issue: Yawn.

I literally fell asleep reading this book. I couldn’t even finish it. When I woke up and continued where I left off I really had to push myself to power through Jim Gordon’s excruciatingly boring monologue. With all the crap Frank Miller’s taken from this book, I’ll give him one thing: it looks like he’s actually trying – at least with certain scenes. Batman and Robin are around for a few pages and basically do nothing but go to see a beaten Catwoman. The rest of the story focuses around Jim Gordon and his family – which is a nice change. But all these overly fluffed monologues from Batgirl, Black Canary, and Gordon do nothing more than bloat the book.

What I do like is that this feels much like the Jim Gordon from Batman: Year One. The nuances and the way he talks – as annoying as some of it is – feels somewhat genuine. The rest of the characters, however, are crap – throwaways. The censored dialogue that everyone’s been fussing about is completely overrated. Any kid who’s watched any TV will be able to fill in the blanks with their own set of colorful metaphors. Miller easily could have replaced these words with symbols or other, less harmful words but chose not to. DC editorial is just as responsible for this mess as Miller and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Does the inclusion of these words make the book more compelling or powerful? Nope. It’s just lazy writing.

Jim Lee’s art is incredibly good here and I’m once again saddened to see such beautiful visuals go to waste on such a sorry story. It’s also disheartening to see his art censored here, but thankfully the panel in question hardly hampers the overall issue.  I’ve also been critical on Alex Sinclair’s coloring in the past – especially with last issue where they’re all in the yellow room. Here, Sinclair shows off his best stuff. The coloring in this book is so incredibly gorgeous – one of the best looking books I’ve seen all year. The scenes where Gordon is hanging around the docks perfectly echo the world of Gotham and her foreboding persona. Really brilliant work by the art team.

Ultimately, this book is your standard hodgepodge of good and terrible. Unfortunately, Jim Lee’s art cannot save this sinking ship. Sure, it may be the selling point, but that doesn’t stop the story from being abysmal. To all those who thought this book was going to make a serious turn around after last issue, I’m laughing at you (and apparently, so is Frank Miller). If the readers are anyone in this book it’s Barbara Gordon: we’re so addicted to this awful mess that we’ve ended up in a terrible car crash. And our only hope is Jim (Gordon) Lee.

Save us, Jim. Save us! (Grade: F)

– J. Montes