The final issue of Detective Comics before DC's relaunch is here and there are some major repercussions that will have to carry over to the new titles in September.
Scott Snyder is a man with a plan. Reading this final issue of TEC lays out everything he's set up for Dick Grayson since his run began. This being the final issue, there might be concern that it'll be a quick end with no consequences for future issues. That couldn't be further from the truth. For those that have been thrilled and have enjoyed the ride that Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla have given us, this issue will not disappoint. I had a deep respect for all involved during this entire run but after this issue, that respect has increased exponentially.
Spoilers if you haven't read the last issue: basically word is out that James Gordon Jr is a psychopath. What he did to his mom and what happens to Barbara in this issue pushes him over the edge into the spotlight as one of the best new Batman villains we've seen in a long time. Throughout Snyder's arc, there's always been the element of hardcore suspense and shock. I'm not talking shock for the sake of being shocking. Each issue blows me away with what he can come up with for Dick.
To sum up this portion, the issue was amazing. There are some intense events that happen (and that's an understatement). The fact that James has a personal connection to several characters makes his motives all the more chilling and powerful. I can't remember the last time I was so blown away by a Batman series.
I've been loving both Jock and Francesco's art throughout Snyder's run. Having them alternate during issues and arcs has been a great treat for us. It's fitting that both are present here in this final issue...except that's one of my pet peeves in comics. Having the art change mid-action can be jarring. I do have to say that during the...intense scenes halfway through, I was so sucked into the story that I didn't notice until reading the issue again (I've actually read it four times now). Minor complaint. Amazing art from both.
Also, will September's relaunched series negate what Snyder has set up?
It's Scott Snyder's Detective Comics. I can safely say this will most likely be my pick of the week. Snyder's run has been phenomenal and this was the perfect ending. You can see everything that he's worked towards in setting up and referencing past events. I had questioned the use/return of James Jr for about five minutes and now I couldn't be happier to see the dark path he's taken. James Jr. needs to be elevated to being one of the top villains in Batman's rogues gallery. Snyder's run has been accompanied by amazing art from both Jock and Francesco Francavilla. It's fitting that both handle the art duties in this oversized issue. Normally I'm bothered when the art changes mid-action but the story and mood set up will suck you in and you won't even notice until you read the issue again...and you will want to read it more than once.
The more I've read from Snyder has had me concerned over what might be changed or ignored with September's relaunched Batman titles. He did have this to say via his Twitter account:
[I]n the Bat-U, what was there before is still there, and will be referenced (certainly in Batman, from issue 1) and built upon.
Good news for everyone. Here's some preview pages from DC's The Source.