Comic Vine Review

15 Comments

Detective Comics #23.3 - City of Fear Review

3

What is the Scarecrow up to now that the villains have finally taken over Gotham City?

The Good

If you keep current with solicitations and news, then you know a war between Batman's massive gallery of villains is coming. Dubbed 'Arkham War,' two armies will form. One from Blackgate and lead by Bane. The other, lead by Scarecrow. Unlike many other Villains Month issues, the sole purpose of this comic isn't to flesh out the character on the cover or reveal their backstory. Instead, it reveals Dr. Crane's attempt to create an army to counter Bane's.

This of course means there's a lot of cameos. Like, a lot of cameos. Crane's character still shines through to some degree, but the book really relies on him bouncing his somewhat excessive amount dialogue off of a variety of different personalities. Some of the cameos have an organic fit and certainly make for an amusing scene, but others come off as feeling somewhat forced, almost like writer Peter J. Tomasi was just trying to incorporate as many individuals as possible. Regardless, it's interesting to see how Forever Evil has impacted the big players in Gotham and how they're each handling matters now that the bad guys have won.

The Bad

Szymon Kudranski does solid work on some close ups, but there's a massive contrast between the characters and their environments. There are more than a few times where it gives off the impression these individuals have been copy and pasted into a preexisting background. Separately, both styles work well, but when placed together there's a very jarring difference in both detail and depth. Minor art gripe: entire rows of candles in the library are totally flat. It was surprisingly distracting because we see them at an angle and they're very prominent in the panel.

I'm very excited for 'Arkham War,' but this is basically limited to introducing the key players on Scarecrow's side. Just when things begin to get somewhat interesting for one, it's off to the next character. In the process, we never really get a very elaborate insight into Scarecrow, either. I can see that as being very disappointing for anyone who expects an issue that'll really dive deep into the character. Lastly, there was no real emotional connection established, so a specific moment in the conclusion really didn't pack any kind of punch or even shock value for me.

The Verdict

Most Villains Month issues shine the spotlight on the character and dive into their origin story or expand upon what makes them unique. This issue isn't one of those at all. Sure, Tomasi gives us a taste of Scarecrow's personality throughout the read, but this is ultimately an issue that exists just to build the hype for 'Arkham War.' It's not particularly exciting and at times feels bogged down by an overabundance of dialogue, but it gets the job done when it comes to teasing the upcoming conflict between Batman's villains.

17 Comments
Posted by TheFirstLantern

@k4tzm4n so not really required for Arkham War?

Posted by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n so not really required for Arkham War?

Nah, I don't believe it'll be mandatory. I'm sure they'll provide all of the basics when the first issue comes out.

Posted by Wilbertus

That's a shame, Scarecrow is a great villain to dive into. I think it would have been more interesting to do a mini-series on recruiting every member than jamming them all into one issue. Like you said: once things get interesting, you have to go to the next scene.

Well, at least we have Arkham War to look forward to!

Edited by tikhunt

Sorry for a kind of off-topic question but how much is each villains month issue in dollars?

Posted by Dark_Guyver

@tikhunt: 2.99 for 2d covers. 3.99 for 3d covers.

Posted by tikhunt

@dark_guyver: Ah got ya, I hope my LCS will let me choose which covers I want because I can't see 3d due to my short sightedness

Posted by Dark_Guyver

@tikhunt: Well most comics shops have 2d in plenty of stock. It's the 3d you would have trouble finding. So I'm sure you be fine.

Posted by cobra88king8

I really had high hopes for this issue but it was just a prequal to Arkham War

Edited by TheFirstLantern
Posted by nappystr8

Hmmm, this is the only villains month issue I've purchased. I love Scarecrow, and I figured I couldn't go wrong with Peter Tomasi's warped mind writing the character. Hopefully me and Gregg will have different opinions on this one, but I don't care anything about Arkham War, so I'm worried this might have been a wasted purchase.

Posted by CrazyScarecrow

This one is the best Villains Month. I haven't read it yet, but anything with Scarecrow can't be wrong!

Posted by joezack12

What a disappointment.

Posted by akbogert

Sorry to hear this is such a letdown. I've been avoiding DC because I still haven't read Trinity War and don't want that spoiled (beyond the inevitable fact that the heroes seem to be basically gone), but I've been able to snipe a few of the villain issues and enjoyed them. As a person who likes Scarecrow AND who is looking to read Arkham War (I'll have caught up by then), this sounds like an issue which should have been right up both alleys and yet somehow nails neither.

Edited by Mulder15

Yeah Scarecrow's issue was overall average. Not enough focus on him as a character sadly.

Posted by nappystr8

Sad to report that Gregg is right, if not even a little generous. Tomasi really dropped the ball with giving the living embodiment of fear an issue that was actually scary. And he basically has the same conversation with each villain.