Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #23.3

The Crime Syndicate has taken over, and Forever Evil is in full effect, and Scarecrow has some business around Gotham, which has been divided into districts by some of the larger villains on the block. With fear now being the norm, the "hunt" is over so to speak for Scarecrow, and he's grown bored, and through is boredom, bigger aspirations arise. First, Scarecrow takes his ex Arkham guard lackey to visit Mr. Freeze first, eventually finding Victor in his frozen district. Scarecrow warns Freeze about some rumors he's heard of the Blackgate residents attempting to rise up, which may turn out to be a problem for them. Along with some meddling around with some "residents" of the Freeze district, the two seem to come to an alliance, if a need for it arises from Blackgate.

Scarecrow continues to walk through Gotham with his lackey, discussing Two-Face's actions (describing him as "that pain-in-the-ass who can't decide what to order for dinner.") and observe some of Clayface's work. They come to the Gotham library where Riddler has set up shop, and Scarecrow gives him the same info, but says he came to Riddler first in order to butter him up. These types of "wars" barely interest the Riddler, citing while people make fun of Switzerland for being neutral, that country is good at surviving. Riddler also tries to distance himself from the "crazies" of Arkham, stating he's dramatically driven and crazy is the "bane" of his existence, a statement that gets Scarecrow thinking.

Next on Scarecrow's list is Poison Ivy, but he and his lackey are attacked by the lackey's cousin, who worked at Blackgate, and was stabbed in the back by his cousin, under Scarecrow's orders. The big guy is, well... big, mostly due to a dosing of venom, but before he can kill his cousin or Scarecrow, Killer Croc appears from the sewers and kills him. Scarecrow plays it as if he was coming to see Croc first, and gives him the same offer, but Croc has his own agenda and is leading followers underneath the streets in the sewers... you know Batwoman stuff, which... who knows if it'll ever come to anything, and then retreats into the sewers once again.

Before Scarecrow and his lackey can get their shit straight, Ivy snatches them up with a couple of vines, and Scarecrow tries to tell her that he meant to tell her first, but Croc interrupted and so on. Ivy isn't buying it, and just tells Crane to get on with it, so he tells her about the Blackgate uprising, and after what Riddler said to him, as well as the venom freak that just attacked them, Scarecrow concludes they've got a Bane problem. Scarecrow manages to pique Ivy's interest in pointing out it's hard to keep her plants alive in total darkness, but artificial light could work. The problem is that they'd need a lot of power, and Blackgate has it, as they've got their own high powered generator keeping the Talons on ice underneath it. With her interest captured, Ivy asks which side the Society would be on in this fight, and Scarecrow simply says "the winners."

Later, fulfilling a riddler that Edward asked Scarecrow's lackey ("what's here today and gone tomorrow?"), Scarecrow is throwing his buddy off a roof, having cleared his head I guess he has no use for the dude anymore. Scarecrow has the backing of the Society, and a growing contingency of madmen on his side, and proclaims that once the coming war is over, he will rule all of Gotham.


The Good:

This issue did a really great job of setting up the Forever Evil: Arkham War mini series, which is pretty much what I was craving. This plays into the overall event 100%, where others are merely just set with Forever Evil as a backdrop. You get a big No Man's Land sort of vibe, only this time, there's absolutely no Batman. Tomasi definitely whet my appetite for the mini series next month with this one.

Szymon Kudranski's art was great as always. Dark, moody, and perfectly fitted for a character like Scarecrow, which isn't much of a surprise given this series' recent annual.

The Bad:

A couple of things... I didn't think the voices of some of the characters were portrayed all that well. Last week I complimented the Mr. Freeze issue for really portraying that hollow creepy voice from the Animated Series... here, not so much. I can't put my finger on any specific reasons as to why, but that sort of character voice I look for in characters like Freeze just didn't come through for me. On smaller notes, I didn't like the way Kudranski drew Ivy and I thought the getting rid of the lackey towards the end was a bit abrupt and random.

The Bottom Line:

If you're getting Forever Evil: Arkham War, this issue (and probably Bane next week) is an absolute must. It sets up the Arkham side of the Arkham vs. Blackgate war very well, and leads right into the bigger story. Though the issue has fantastic art on the part of Szymon Kudranski, I do feel that Tomasi was a bit hit or miss with characters' voices, and not really hitting the mark with some, unfortunately. Despite some minor drawbacks, this was a pretty great issue all around, setting the stage for some rather large events to come.



  1. I can point to the exact thing that was wrong with how Freeze was portrayed. He says, "Meh." Aside from how much I despise that word anyway, Freeze is much more eloquent than that. I will say, though, that Freeze got better as the scene went on; "I am from Arkham but I am not of it" is really a fantastic line that forced Michael Ansara's voice into my head in a pitch-perfect way.

    1. Yeah, good point. I think he says "heh" too. Just didn't get that hollow vibe from him.

    2. Totally agreed on the "meh" thing, so weird. I have to admit I've used the word sometimes, but Freeze never would. Otherwise I'm excited for Arkham War though, though I wonder how Batman being in Forever Evil will tie into his enemies carving out Gotham for themselves. There has to be something crazy going on for Batman to not immediately go to his city during a crisis like that.