Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Scarecrow #1

Comic Review: Scarecrow #1

Detective Comics 23.3 Scarecrow #1 DC Villains Month New 52 Cover

DC’s Villains Month has been a grab bag of tortured childhoods and origin stories for its 52-strong list of baddies, but Peter J. Tomasi’s Scarecrow #1 shows no fear in braving the present day chaos of a Gotham City without Batman to protect it.

With the Justice League apparently dead at the hands of the Crime Syndicate, Batman’s villains have divvied up Gotham City into a series of fiefdoms. Mr. Freeze walks around his district blasting everyone with his ice gun, the Riddler is holed up reading books in the Gotham Public Library and Poison Ivy’s neck of the woods “smells delightful.”

Gotham City is one big bad guy theme park, and the Scarecrow is our tour guide.

Scarecrow leads a former Arkham Asylum guard through the dying city, visiting other Batman heavy-hitters along the way to deliver a message.

Bane and his army of Blackgate Prison escapees are coming to wreck their little playgrounds.

Scarecrow is more alter ego Jonathan Crane than he is maniac fearmonger in Scarecrow #1. He’s essentially won the freedom to terrify whomever he wishes, but with that freedom has come a “middle-aged ennui,” as he puts it.

That’s where Crane’s psychoanalysis comes in. He’s got his sights set on winning the clash with Bane and taking Gotham for himself, and he’s decided to use his understanding of his fellow villains to his advantage.

One by one, Scarecrow visits other Batman villains and offers his psychotic psychoanalysis of each. It’s an entertaining gimmick written with due restraint by Tomasi.

“I came to tell you first,” Scarecrow says to each. “I thought you should know.”

In terms of art, Szymon Kudranski draws a Gotham consumed by shadow and bathed in a faint, orange light. His Scarecrow is scary because we never quite see all of him, and he draws the other Batman rogues with equal menace.
Kudranski’s villains are imposing and powerful, while his regular humans are so real you can’t help but feel their vulnerability, especially when Scarecrow is drugging them with his fear gas.

Kudranski’s work captures the frightening distinction between the powerful, costumed villains of Batman’s world and the helpless citizens of Gotham.

There’s a definite Gangs of New York feel going on here, and Scarecrow is right in the center.

For a taste of the day-to-day life of a Gotham without superheroes, Scarecrow #1 is the comic to read.

I’m coming to you first with this.

I really thought I should let you know.

9 out of 10

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