Simone's strength as a writer lies in her ability to develop complex characters and supporting casts, and that is what she is finally getting the chance to do here in Batgirl. Without the impediment of any Batfamily crossovers going on right now, Simone is being left alone to really start putting in some work on the cast she has set up here, and is now delving into those characters, and into their relationships with Barbara Gordon.
Since Night of the Owls, Barbara has been going through a crises of conscience not only over her fractured relationship with Bruce Wayne, but more importantly, over her perception that she caused her brother's (James Gordon Jr.) death. Suicide Squad readers will already know that James Jr. did not in fact die at Batgirl's hands, but Barbara Gordon is not yet aware of that little detail. The guilt from James Jr.'s death has recently changed Barbara's character completely, and forced her to reevaluate her role as a 'hero'.
Beyond what Simone has been doing with Barbara Gordon herself, she has finally had the time and space with which to focus on developing the supporting cast of Batgirl. Barbara has recently found a new love interest (though the end of this issue leaves that in question), and his family dynamics have served as an interesting foil to what Babara's experience with family has been, causing even more questions for her regarding her own life. Her room mate Alysia has become pivotal in decisions Barbara makes, and the development of her character in relation to women's issues that surround her on a larger social scale. Simone has also been able to tie together all of the various villains she has created within this book since the inception of the New 52, and they are being centralized under the umbrella of the newly developed big bad, Knightfall. Throughout the last 23 issues of Batgirl, Simone has managed to weave some pretty intricate strings that tie most of these characters to each other, and her work here reminds me of what Chuck Dixon and Simone herself did during previous runs on Nightwing and Birds of Prey, respectively.
Most importantly here in Batgirl, the work being put into Commissioner James Gordon, Barbara's father, has been wonderful. For a character that has seen so much development over the last 70+ years, it's great to still find writers that can make him a central focus of a title that isn't his own, and manage to build his emotional depth even further. At the end of the day, James Gordon is the glue that holds all of the Batman family titles together, and his importance as a supporting cast member can never be overstated. In all of comicdom, Jim Gordon may be the most important non-starring character that has ever existed, and I think many would support that claim.
With this issue Simone really shows how much focus has been regained here in Batgirl regarding developing this new continuity, a focus that is lacking in most other DC titles since the New 52 relaunch, and it's refreshing to see how well it can be done. Overall, this is an issue of Batgirl that emphasizes everything that has made Simone such a fan-favorite over the years, and it has me excited for this title for the first time in many months. Just some great comic book storytelling here.