Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Batman: The Dark Knight #14

Comic Review: Batman: The Dark Knight #14

Batman: The Dark Knight #14 comic review Scarecrow Jonathan Crane

After a claustrophobic issue #13 that spent most of its time in Scarecrow’s basement, Writer Gregg Hurwitz and artist David Finch give us a glimpse of the light – both in Gotham City and in Scarecrow.

There’s a lot of blood in this issue. Batman and Scarecrow temporarily part ways, and both are badly wounded in the parting. Batman’s been on the business end of Scarecrow’s scythe a few too many times, while Scarecrow has suffered some jaw-dropping physical damage that drips across every page. Both go to their respective corners to regroup and heal up for the last round of this showdown.

It’s a relief to see Finch take The Dark Knight away from the black, grey, brown, and yellow colour palette that this comic has been drenched in since the Scarecrow’s introduction. In fact, we get more brightness than Batman can apparently handle. Early on we see Batman limping down the street in broad daylight, only to be attacked by some street thugs who can’t believe their luck. Later, Scarecrow’s little girl victim spots Batman standing awkwardly in the corner of the room, and for once, it doesn’t look like Batman meant to be seen.

That in itself is what makes the art so interesting. Scarecrow has got Batman off his game. The shadows aren’t so safe or inviting, and he’s vulnerable in the light.

Next issue will tell whether Hurwitz and Finch continue with this concept, or whether they build him back up to normal right away. An off-kilter Batman would be hard-pressed in a fight with the terrifying Scarecrow.

On the writing side, Hurwitz lets up on Jonathan Crane’s childhood torture flashbacks and instead shows us a Scarecrow who has a limit. He’s tortured the little girl in his basement for a few issues now, but when her life is on the line, he cares about sparing her. It’s a quick but fascinating glimpse of the person behind the burlap mask. Hopefully it has an impact before this story is over.

The dialogue hits most of the right notes, but there are exceptions. When the thugs decide to jump Batman, one makes a cringe-worthy attempt at street slang when he asks, “Homie… That the Batman?” Conversely, the Penguin’s brief appearance is excellent. Hurwitz writes a callous professional with a nonchalant touch that is refreshing amid all the glowering and introspection we get out of tight-lipped Batman and not so tight-lipped Scarecrow.

Next issue promises to be a Christmas special of sorts, and the second to last story in this Scarecrow arc. Scarecrow’s got a city-wide nightmare before Christmas planned. If anything, it’ll be worth it for all the ghoulish Santas and reindeer.

7 out of 10.

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