Detective Comics #934 was a strong introduction to a new superhero team. This issue isn’t quite at the same level, but it still has promise.
It starts off well as writer James Tynion IV plays a little trick on readers, making us think the team is fighting a bunch of Jokers when it’s really just a training simulation. The Joker army is just the latest foe in a grueling, hours-long training session Batwoman is putting the heroes through. While it’s perhaps unnecessary to emphasize that she’s the group’s relentless taskmaster again considering it was pretty clear before, it’s still sort of jarring to see anyone but Batman in that role, so Tynion IV gets away with it.
In fact, the best thing about this book so far is the way it sort of redefines who Batman/Bruce Wayne is. In the first issue, he did the unexpected and reached out for help. In this one, he drops the stoic act and tells Tim Drake a.k.a. Red Robin that he’s an important part of the Bat Family. It’s about as fatherly as Bruce has ever been and it conveys a lot about their relationship. It says just as much that Tim doesn’t tell Bruce then and there that he’s gotten a scholarship that would take him away from Gotham long-term.
Some might see the whole teen growing up and moving away from the (metaphorical) parent thing like an unnecessary distraction, but it’s that kind of real life question that makes these characters feel well-rounded. The same goes for Tim’s little romance with Spoiler. It’s standard teen romance fair, but it helps you care about these characters and realize there’s more connecting them than just fear of an unknown villain. That said, the issue feels a bit disjointed because each character gets fleshed out in separate scenes. And while that’s completely necessary writing-wise, this book does feel like it’s at its best when the whole team is working together. Hopefully they’ll get back to working together next issue to save Bruce from the army of Batmen that attacks him at the end of this one.