Story Plot: Batman is pushed to his limits as he faces a fear toxin unlike any he has ever encountered. What is Batman most afraid of?
Reaction: Since Issue #10 of Batman: The Dark Knight, Gregg Hurwitz (current writer of Batman: The Dark Knight) is the right guy for this dark comic book. There are two things Hurwitz is well known for: He uses cerebral villainous characters and he gives cool character back stories. For example, Hurwitz wrote The Penguin miniseries called Pain & Prejudice, which gave respect as well as fan-love for the character again. Now, Hurwitz is giving Scarecrow a darker back story portrayal, which horrifies comic book readers. From Issue #13, Hurwitz digs deeper int Scarecrow’s past as well as Batman/Bruce’s.
Praises: For Issue #13 of Batman: The Dark Knight, the story continues with Batman still being held captive by the Scarecrow. Hurwitz continues to shed light on what made both characters become who they are today, the hero and the villain. He explained earlier over the summer that he wanted to explore both hero and villain in this story arc, so that he can revisit and revamp the characters with a twist. The best twist Hurwitz does for Batman is introduce the notion that Bruce became Batman because he doesn’t want to feel emotions. This is why Bruce took up the idea of becoming an animal (a bat) that relies on instincts and less on feelings and thoughts. This provides an antithesis to the Scarecrow who is opposite of Batman in every way. Scarecrow wants to feel, which is why he mutilates himself by stitching up his lips and using fear toxin on people to abuse their feelings. The two characters are perfect polar opposites in this story arc. It’s quite impressive to see Hurwitz play this out in his writing.
As for David Finch (current artist of Batman: the Dark Knight ), he continues to bring on the blotchy grittiness of the issue. The way Finch is drawing this issue, it looks like the issue came out of a 1970’s horror film. Finch’s style is scary and gloomy, which is great for the Halloween spirit. I love the way Finch revamped the appearance of a scythe by making the staff part from a horse’s vertebrae attached to the scythe’s head. It’s really creepy in a good way. I’m glad that Hurwitz gave Finch freedom to go all artistically twisted for this issue as well as for the whole story arc. It’s going to be sad to see Finch leave this comic book in January.
Disappointments: There is very little progression in this issue. It was more of a filler issue, where you don’t have to read this issue unless you want to. More or less, you can skip this issue and read the next without missing anything. It’s a sad thing, but it was still an enjoyable issue for all of its horror effects. There was some parts Finch’s artwork, where it looks messing which could be an artistic decision for grittiness.
For what it’s worth, this story arc is the best by far for Batman: The Dark Knight. Hurwitz is just killing the pages with his back stories on these cerebral villains. I’ve never really given Scarecrow much praise for his arch villainy, but I think I’m starting to respect his character a little more. Finch’s dark gritty portrayals are giving me the cool chills for Halloween. I will definitely recommend the story arc to friends, but as for Issue #13 of this comic book. I would say skip it.
Check out some of the panels that I thought were cool.