Comic Vine Review

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Detective Comics #23.3 - City of Fear

3

What is the Scarecrow up to now that the villains have finally taken over Gotham City?

The Good

If you keep current with solicitations and news, then you know a war between Batman's massive gallery of villains is coming. Dubbed 'Arkham War,' two armies will form. One from Blackgate and lead by Bane. The other, lead by Scarecrow. Unlike many other Villains Month issues, the sole purpose of this comic isn't to flesh out the character on the cover or reveal their backstory. Instead, it reveals Dr. Crane's attempt to create an army to counter Bane's.

This of course means there's a lot of cameos. Like, a lot of cameos. Crane's character still shines through to some degree, but the book really relies on him bouncing his somewhat excessive amount dialogue off of a variety of different personalities. Some of the cameos have an organic fit and certainly make for an amusing scene, but others come off as feeling somewhat forced, almost like writer Peter J. Tomasi was just trying to incorporate as many individuals as possible. Regardless, it's interesting to see how Forever Evil has impacted the big players in Gotham and how they're each handling matters now that the bad guys have won.

The Bad

Szymon Kudranski does solid work on some close ups, but there's a massive contrast between the characters and their environments. There are more than a few times where it gives off the impression these individuals have been copy and pasted into a preexisting background. Separately, both styles work well, but when placed together there's a very jarring difference in both detail and depth. Minor art gripe: entire rows of candles in the library are totally flat. It was surprisingly distracting because we see them at an angle and they're very prominent in the panel.

I'm very excited for 'Arkham War,' but this is basically limited to introducing the key players on Scarecrow's side. Just when things begin to get somewhat interesting for one, it's off to the next character. In the process, we never really get a very elaborate insight into Scarecrow, either. I can see that as being very disappointing for anyone who expects an issue that'll really dive deep into the character. Lastly, there was no real emotional connection established, so a specific moment in the conclusion really didn't pack any kind of punch or even shock value for me.

The Verdict

Most Villains Month issues shine the spotlight on the character and dive into their origin story or expand upon what makes them unique. This issue isn't one of those at all. Sure, Tomasi gives us a taste of Scarecrow's personality throughout the read, but this is ultimately an issue that exists just to build the hype for 'Arkham War.' It's not particularly exciting and at times feels bogged down by an overabundance of dialogue, but it gets the job done when it comes to teasing the upcoming conflict between Batman's villains.