Batman's face is excessively squarish and boxy, and he appears to have no skin beneath the cowl, just more black costume, but I kind of really like this cover. It's like the pillars are support beams for the cover itself, and Batman is breaking free from the image. The best part of this cover has to be the way the image peels with his cape, with blank white underneath.
Ok, this little girl's levels of compassion and innocence are a bit ridiculous. Scarecrow's tortured the hell out of her mind, and she still sees good in him? She's too little to be faking it to try and escape, and she even draws him a freaking picture of the two of them holding hands and playing in the sun. Seriously, does she have some kind of absolutely awful childhood to sympathize with him? But regardless of the validity, if you suspend disbelief a bit, you can recognize that it's an amazing catalyst for the driving force of this arc's uniqueness, and defining the differences in the new Scarecrow. There's some truly amazing scenes where Scarecrow's psyche is crumbling around him, as the cries of a little girl merge with his own memories of a traumatic youth. It's hard to say if his harrowed and painful expression is one of fear at recalling repressed memories, or anguish at the mirror the little girl represents to show he's become exactly the monster that violently broke a young Jonathan Crane on a psychological level. Because honestly, what happened to that boy was a hell among hells.
The problem with this issue, however, is that it spends too much time in the same limbo as the previous issue, drawing out the length of this arc artificially. So much of this issue feels like what we saw in #12, Batman seeing the fear of his childhood that inspired him while Scarecrow sees his. As amazing as Scarecrow's childhood story is, Batman's is rather insubstantial. It's nothing we haven't seen many times before, and the surreality gets a little out of hand, leaving me unsure of the proper flow of events. But in the end Batman escapes the trap with relative ease, and it paints Scarecrow as a decent bit less threatening than he's appeared the rest of this arc. At this point I'm not totally sure I buy the tension we saw in the rest of this issue. And it's hard to see where Scarecrow's going with things in this arc, the story itself is just an excuse to show us scenes from his past, when it comes to capturing Batman he definitely had a well laid trap, but as to what to do with Batman he seems to have no overarching plan here. He just seems lost for a purpose, and not in the interesting psychological way, Hurwitz just has him doing things for the sake of doing things and showing us his backstory.
In Conclusion: 3.5/5
I want to like this more because everything about the psychological backstory here is brilliant, dark, intense, terrifying, and all that it should be. It's just that the plot that should tie everything together is pretty flimsy and not well thought out. It's a shame that the balance here isn't better.