Something to Fear
I have never been overly keen on this series, and in fact dropped the series after issue 9, but after hearing good things about the series since Gregg Hurwitz joined the creative team I decided to give the series another chance. So far this story has been a lot better than what the series was like before Hurwitz joined, but it's not been anything special, and I hope the next story involving the Mad Hatter is better.
This was a good issue but the story is still nowhere near from perfect. I like how Hurwitz has given this series some new life, and made it a decent series. I still however think there is still more needed to make this series match some of the other Batman series, and with Detective Comics getting better since John Layman took over writing, this series has once again dropped to the worst of the solo Batman series. I did however like how Hurwiz put a bit more action in this issue, a most of the story so far has been Scarecrow experimenting on Batman, whilst the story showing Scarecrows past. Although this has been interesting, it was starting to get a bit boring, and I wouldn't have been surprised if the whole story was just that one big sequence, spliced with flashbacks.
I am happy that David Finch is still doing art on this series, as although the plot was very poor when he wrote the series his art was always stunning. This issue is no different, and there is only one thing I can fault about it. There is a sequence later on in the issue featuring Penguin, and I personally didn't like the way he drew him. I've liked how Finch has drawn most of the Bat villains in this series, even the overgrown Two-Face, but Penguin just didn't look right. Although Penguin is known for being very round it looked too unrealistic in this issue. His facial features were also a bit too much and slightly inconsistent from the Penguin we've seen in other series. His hair also looked very stupid, as Penguin always prides himself in looking tidy and well dressed, whereas in this issue his hair's all over the place which doesn't look right. Besides that the art was brilliant and I like how Finch's work really put's the Dark in Dark Knight. Whether drawing facial expressions, or fight sequences, it's always brilliant and a pleasure to look at.
The fight between Scarecrow and Batman at the start of the issue was good, and although it had it's imperfections, it was still good, and a nice change from the other issues, which have been filled with too much dialogue and nearly no action. The fight itself is very strange, and this is probably due to the fear gas. At one point Batman throws himself on Scarecrows scythe. He must have been really desperate, or really out of his mind if he was willing to impale himself to get a hold of Scarecrow. Scarecrow's expressions at the start of the fight was brilliant, as you could see he was happy with his work, and that he enjoyed seeing Batman go insane. It was also fun to see the expression change when he got Batman's Grapple Gun through his jaw. It is a bit weird how the claw on the end of the gun, which is the same size or bigger than a human's jaw could get through without hitting anything else. Batman must have either used all his skill to hit only the jaw or been that out of his mind he couldn't care, either way I enjoyed this mini fight.
It was nice to have Damian find Batman, and I liked how he mentioned that he'd been out every night looking for him. I also loved how the sequence with Batman recovering in bed how this showed more of the growing father, and son relationship between the two. I also liked how Damian was written in this issue, as some series, where he's not one of the main characters, they make him more serious than he should be. I like a more immature, Damian as it shows that he's still a child. It was also nice to see that Damian still had time to crack a joke whilst talking about how worried Alfred, and himself were.
I liked that the little girl Scarecrow had chained in his cellar got a chance to speak in this issue, as all we've heard her say is how she's scared whilst she pleading with Scarecrow not to scare her any more. Later on in this issue the girl has a conversation with Commissioner Gordon where she tells him about her time locked up in Scarecrow's cellar. I'm happy that her involvement in the story has been a little more relevant than just a test subject for Scarecrow to work on prior to capturing Batman, but I hope that she has a role in the final issue of this story making her even more relevant to the story.
This was a good issue, but I hope this series starts getting good, and if the next story isn't better I will be considering dropping it again. I don't know whether to recommend this issue as it is good but isn't great. If you are a big Scarecrow fan, and open to the fact of his back story changing a bit I would recommend getting this. I would also recommend it to people who have the story so far, as it makes sense, but otherwise I'd recommend waiting till the next story featuring the Mad Hatter starts in issue 16.