Batman: The Dark Knight #16 Review
This issue of Batman: The Dark Knight, while technically sound and not having many noticeable flaws, also lacks anything that makes it stand out of the pack. To make use of the vernacular, this issue is the very definition of "meh."
I had high hopes for Gregg Hurwitz when he jumped aboard this series. I really enjoyed his Penguin: Pain and Prejudice mini-series, and his Scarecrow arc started off well, until it dragged on for far too long. Hopefully, he won't make the same mistake with the Mad Hatter, especially since the Mad Hatter is a far less compelling villain than the Scarecrow (both in general comics lore as well as how Hurwitz writes them). Hurwitz likes to write a psychological thriller (both in his novels and his comics), and seems to really want to focus on the dark, horrifying aspects of Batman's rogues gallery. Unfortunately, this hasn't managed to translate well to the comic page, as none of his last arc nor this issue were deep, psychological thrillers. Rather, the were exercises in mediocrity. There's nothing terribly wrong about Hurwitz writing in this issue, the dialogue is sound, the pacing is ok (if a bit slow), but none of it registers on a deeper level at all, leaving one feel a little hollow after reading this comic.
Ethan Van Sciver is a fine artist, who does strong, detailed work, but I feel that Finch was a better artist for this series, both in terms of the quality of Finch's art, as well as his scratchier, darker art fitting the mood better. However, Van Sciver's art is still very good, and both his pencil work and his inking are done quite well. I'd definitely say the art is the stronger part of the grade for this issue.
While Hurwitz has been an upgrade compared to Jenkins' and Finch's writing, this series hasn't done much to make it stand out from the pack of the New 52. While sales for this series are strong (almost anything with Batman's name on it will have good sales), one really has to wonder how necessary and meaningful a series like Batman: The Dark Knight is. Hopefully, this series picks up, otherwise we'll still have a mediocre Batman series hanging around while gems like Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE and I, Vampire are being cancelled, which is not a good trend for comic books.