As popular as they have been in recent years, other than the short lived I, Vampire, vampires have not had a huge presence in the DC Universe. As such, Silver, a self proclaimed vampire hunter who believes Batgirl and Strix are vampires, comes off looking like yet another crazed lunatic. What makes this issue great, however, is the plot twist that Gail Simone throws in, where the kidnapped little girl in fact turns out to be a real vampire. Like all good plot twists, this one came out nowhere and even brought in a surprise guest, Andrew Bennet (from the aforementioned I, Vampire). This issue, while filled with action and excitement, is at its best when dealing with the strained relationship between Batgirl and Strix. Fernando Pasarin, with Jonathan Glapion and Blond, present a wonderfully illustrated book; the art is absolutely gorgeous. 4/5
After taking a month off from Zero Year, Scott Snyder continues his yearlong epic as the Riddler is just about to make situations in Gotham even worse. The Riddler has long been one of Batman’s more formidable foes, simply because he uses his intelligence much in the same way Batman uses his: to plan and make backup plans. As a result he has not only eluded Batman on occasion, but he has eventually even surmised Batman’s identity. This arc, depicting Batman’s first encounter with The Riddler, is going exactly as expected. With Bruce still being new to crime-fighting, Riddler has been two steps ahead at almost every turn. Snyder has done an excellent job balancing the competent hero we all know Batman to be, with the inexperienced beginner he actually is in the story. Greg Capullo and Danny Miki’s work continues to be excellent, however FCO truly shines in this issue with the subtle changes in his color palette completely dictating the direction and tone of the story. 4.5/5
While there may be one more issue left in the series, this issue marks the last of Kyle Higgins’ run, and an exciting run it has been. Though numerous events and crossovers continuously affected the pacing and direction of the story, Higgins was still able to do an excellent job with the series. From his first arc focusing on Haly’s circus to Nightwing’s adventures in Chicago, Higgins managed to highlight the many fine qualities that Nightwing has. While there are things that could have been expanded upon, such as his many close relationships with other individuals in the DC Universe, this series was a fairly consistent portrayal of the type of hero anyone might aspire to be. This issue serves as a culmination of the entire series, with minor flashbacks, contemplation of life choices, but ultimately it highlights the idea that regardless of how much bad exists in the world, being able to help even just one person makes a difference. Russell Dauterman, with Peter Pantazis, delivers a masterfully gorgeous book for Higgins’ last issue. Dauterman, whose work I have not seen before, beautifully illustrates Dick Grayson on possibly one of his final acts of heroism as Nightwing. 4.5/5
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