Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Batman: The Dark Knight #15

Comic Review: Batman: The Dark Knight #15

Batman: The Dark Knight #15 Cover with Batman and Scarecrow by David Finch

You know that feeling you get when you’re watching TV and you realize that there’s only 10 minutes left in the show, and they can’t possibly wrap this thing up in time? You die a little inside when you realize you’ll have to hang on for Part 2 in order to see the end of the story.

Well, you’ll definitely get that feeling while reading Batman: The Dark Knight #15. The problem is, DC has been teasing new artist Ethan Van Sciver and a Mad Hatter storyline to start at the end of January, meaning we know this issue is the end of the Scarecrow.

And it’s a real shame, because every page of Batman: The Dark Knight #15 smacks of a writer trying to do too much with too little room. Gregg Hurwitz races through everything and turns two issues worth of material into a lackluster sprint to the finish that cuts the legs out from under this otherwise decent Scarecrow arc.

When the issue starts, the fear gas Christmas parade float at the end of Batman: The Dark Knight #14 has already done its worst to the people of Gotham, and Batman is left playing catchup. He does a lot of running around and ends up crop dust the city with an aerosol made from his own blood. It’s a gruesome and weird solution to the Scarecrow problem, and it takes up so much room in this issue that there’s no space left for Dr. Jonathan Crane. Lucius and Alfred exchange some science babble, Batman saves the city, and the Scarecrow himself becomes an afterthought.

Earlier in this story, Batman and Scarecrow had an all-out brawl that took a lot out of both of them. Batman was damaged so badly that he couldn’t fight off a pack of street thugs, while Scarecrow had his jaw ripped apart. It was bloody, it was brutal, and it was awesome.

Turns out Scarecrow threw everything he had into Round 1, because Round 2 is about as easy a win as you’ll ever see for Batman. Jonathan Crane goes out with a whimper, and the story is wrapped up with a shoddy, hurried bow.

While Hurwitz faltered, artist David Finch remained solid to the end. There’s nothing to really stand out, but the body of work is consistent. He’s established an earthy, dark mood for the whole arc, and while the writing and the space in this issue rob him of more opportunities to draw his blood-drooling Scarecrow, he deserves a nod for holding up his end of the story. He’ll pass the torch to Van Sciver for issue #16.

January is a double dip for Batman: The Dark Knight. Next up, the Mad Hatter.

Let’s hope Hurwitz can improve on the pacing of his story.

5 out of 10.

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