Flash forward, Gotham is on fire (literally) as Batgirl jumps through the flames trying stop the guy who just shot an RPG at her. Flash back to 24 hours ago where post "Death of the Family" (uh, spoilers, she's alive?) Babs is going through police databases trying to find people she knows to have been working with the Joker recently, violating their parole. She anonymously sends the photos and IDs to her father, then heads out and encounters that Ricky guy again.
Elsewhere, James Jr. visits his mother in the hospital, where she yells at him, telling him that she's not afraid of him anymore, and if he's going to kill her, to just do it already.
At the GCPD, Gordon and Bullock get the tip that Babs sent and give the police their orders, but before they all leave, Gordon puts out an APB on his son, warning how dangerous he can be.
Elsewhere, James sits in a motel room, eventually calling his sister, who begins to track the cell he's using. The two trade amusing verbal jabs at each other... and then Babs picks up a police transmission that has to do with one of the people she sent over to them being picked up, but then the car explodes, and maybe James has something to do with it? I... don't know.
So Babs goes out as Batgirl to investigate, she sees the blown up car, then goes out to find more of the people she sent over to the police, and James is watching... Then she comes across this Firebug guy, and cliffhanger...
So, this was Ray Fawkes' first issue, and he had some amusing bits in there, as well as changing up the narration structure, which automatically separated himself from Gail Simone's usual style. We also got a new colorist on this issue, Blond, whose colors fit the book much better. Don't get me wrong, Ulises Arreola is a good colorist, but much better suited for something like Phantom Stranger or Justice League Dark (which I don't think he's coloring anymore).
Ray Fawkes is a good writer, based on his input on JLD, I know this already, but I have a feeling that the circumstances surrounding this issue was too messy to make this work in any capacity. You may have noticed some hesitation on my part writing this up, and that's because there was a lot. This issue was very segmented, and didn't come together to make a whole. You have the joker guys plot, James Jr. just showing up, then the Firebug guy (why not Firefly?), just nothing added up, I couldn't follow the logic of the issue. Like I said, I feel like this basic plot of "do something with James" was there, and Fawkes may have had to adapt to that, but didn't quite get it together. One thing I don't think helped the title, was that narration style switch. Though admirable in bringing a different voice to the title, it would have greatly helped to have Babs narrate the book instead, that way I could have at least gotten some attempted explanation as to the line between start and finish, instead of unsuccessfully trying to figure it out on my own.
The Bottom Line:
This is an issue I didn't particularly like, but I can't hold that much of it against it in way of the creators, as I would for say Catwoman, which I think is written by someone who is not particularly good at writing. I don't know for sure what went on behind the scenes, but I'm willing to bet it didn't help this issue. Hopefully I like Fawkes' next issue more.