Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman – The Dark Knight Issue 011

The Story

Bruce finds out about Gordon’s kidnapping and leaves his girlfriend to save his friend. While he triest to track Scarecrow down, Scarecrow experiments on another girl that he kidnapped. Batman talks to the girl from the last issue and manages to get Scarecrow’s license plate number from her. He goes to where Scarecrow is hiding, but is ambushed and infected with fear toxin.

The Review
This issue covers all the necessary plot points, Bruce’s failing relationship with his girlfriend, his hunt for Gordon, and the Scarecrow’s past. At the same time it felt like not much happened. I got through this issue in just a few minutes and didn’t feel like much had been accomplished.

Which is strange, because we learned a fair few things. Most importantly, we got a flashback for Scarecrow, to his father using him as a test subject in his fear experiments. It certainly explains Scarecrow’s obsession with fear, though after Freeze got a flashback I can’t help but feel this is more the second step in trend rather than an interesting new development.

We do get to learn a little bit of what Scarecrow’s ultimate goal is. From what we’re given it seems that he’s trying to find a cure for fear. Which, coming from someone that fights using fear, doesn’t make much sense. I’ll give Gregg Hurwitz the benefit of the doubt for now, hopefully this development will make more sense in future issues.

I like how Scarecrow is being used otherwise. His fear motif is emphasized with the victim’s being children, who are not only more vulnerable, but more susceptible to fear. It plays on the sense of fear that the reader should be feeling, and with the exception of the scene of the girl showing concern for Scarecrow, the overall set up is very effective.

I normally wouldn’t bring up the scene with the girl asking Scarecrow if his lips hurt, but I know exactly where this is going. Or at least I dread where it’s going. The girl has the makings of a morality pet, and I can’t help but worry that the endgame of this story is humanizing Scarecrow. If he really is working on a cure for fear, I can see the story going that route. Here’s hoping it doesn’t.

I don’t know if it’s deliberate, or a printing error, but some of the pages are faded. I suspect the latter, because I can’t find any pattern to the faded color pages that would suggest some thematic connection. It just looks like the printer fritzed out while printing this issue. I’ll have to check other copies of this issue to see if it’s repeated.

Overall I like where this story is going and while I do have my worries, I hope they won’t be confirmed. Scarecrow is a great villain and I’m hoping the rest of this story is as strong as last issue was.

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