James Jr.’s presence in Batgirl has been a strange one. At first, Gail Simone started building up his presence as an underlying threat to Barbara, then Ray Fawkes was randomly hired to follow up James’s story, and just as his story was concluding, Simone was brought back in for the finale. Each part of James’s story has been great, from the buildup, to the main story, to this issue’s finale. However, because of the different writers, the story doesn’t flow all that well. That being said, this final issue in the James Jr. saga is great. It’s suspenseful, there’s a nice bit of action, it’s emotional, basically it’s everything you want in a finale. Not just that, Simone throws in some nice bits that were completely unexpected. The reveal that Barbara’s roommate, Alysia, is transgendered was handled very well. It isn’t just great because comics need more diverse characters, but her revealing this to Barbara indicates a certain closeness that Barbara has been severely lacking throughout the series. 4.5/5
For the first time since this series began, the creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo didn’t have a stellar issue. To be clear, it wasn’t a bad issue, it was even nice to see Snyder’s approach to a two-issue arc. However, nothing about it particularly stood out as amazing. The story itself, Clayface evolving to alter his DNA and turning into Bruce Wayne, felt obvious. It’s a story you read and think, wow this has been done before, and if it hasn’t, it really should have been. Clayface, as Bruce Wayne, robbing a bank was an interesting enough twist to the story, however, that was pretty much it. On the art side, Capullo’s art was strong as usual. With Clayface being one of the first villains that wasn’t a typical humanoid, it was nice to see him work with a more supernatural being. The inks on this issue felt a little off because of the inking change, with most of the issue feeling a tad softer than we are used to. But overall, it was still a pleasant issue to look at. 3.5/5
When it was revealed that the Batman and Robin series would continue with a series of guest appearances as Batman goes through his stages of grief, I thought it would be choppy and awkward, and thankfully I was wrong. Peter Tomasi, Pat Gleason, Mick Gray, and John Kalisz prove that they are the best team to handle Bruce’s lasting inability to handle Damian’s death. Featuring guest spots by Frankenstein and Carrie Kelly, Tomasi develops an interesting story integrating Damian’s life prior to dying as well as Bruce’s rash decisions afterwards. Red Robin’s role in the issue was necessary, perfectly handled, and even considering their strained relationship, didn’t feel particularly awkward. The only thing that felt off about this issue was Batman’s choice to go the Frankenstein route in reviving Damian, as opposed to the Lazaraus Pit route, especially considering the Al Ghul family’s success with that method. “Batman and …” starts off with a great issue and a great set up for stories to come. 4.5/5
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