Review of Batman The Dark Knight #13
“What you fear, what you really fear is the light.”
In this issue we learn more about what a sick bastard Scarecrow’s father was as well as set up the big showdown between Batman and Scarecrow.
The pleas of a young girl spark memories of Jonathan Crane’s own childhood. Now we learned in the last issue that he was locked in a cellar with electrodes for the sake of his father’s fear experiments. What we didn’t learn until now is what was in that cellar; skeletons, mannequins holding knives, and various other things that would terrify a small child. Seriously, his dad was a piece of work.
IN the present Bruce escapes, but is gutted by the Scarecrow. Just kidding it was all a hallucination. It also seems that Scarecrow has developed a new super toxin(he isn’t even immune to it, which cause him to don a gas mask making him look scarier. Bruce sees a vision of Braxton Winthrop. A rich, young man whose parents died violently when he was a boy. However, as the Scarecrow narrates Braxton did not slide into the darkness, he instead embraced the light. He is active in charity works, he has a wife and kids, he is happy.
Unlike Bruce who chose darkness, never committing to a girl, taking on a ward, but not adopting him. He doesn’t even acknowledge his own son in public. At this point I wondered how Scarecrow knew all of this. It turns out Bruce is talking to himself. Even after being told this his dak spiral downward continues to be narrated by Scarecrow’s voice. He sees a life alone, all of his “friends” dead and no one caring when he dies.
We cut to another flashback. It seems that while young Jonathan was locked in the cellar his father died, hacking and coughing. The young boy was trapped down there for days before the police arrived and kicked in the door.
Scarecrow goes to grab his scythe, ready to finish his little experiment. However he underestimated the extent to which Batman has conquered fear. “…stare it in the eye until it whimpers and backs down.” Batman is now free, and angry.
Again I really like this series. Hurwitz writes a great story and David Finch brings it to life. Seriously I loved the art in this issue. The full page with Scarecrow in the gas mask is effing terrifying. This issue shows us the end of the Scarecrow origin story(poor little guy) as well as some psychological insight into the mind of Bruce Wayne. Bruce is no stranger to fear, in fact it is one of his primary weapons in his fight against crime. I am excited to see how the final battle plays itself out. I am sure Scarecrow has some more tricks up his sleeve.