Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Detective Comics (Scarecrow) by Peter J. Tomasi issue #23.3

Peter J. Tomasi (I call him "P. Tomz" in private when I want to be disgustingly cute all by myself) is a Batman writer I've been going steady with since April of this year. His Batman and Robin run had been an exhaustingly emotional ride that I never want to leave anytime soon. Aside from that, I've been enthralled by his five-issued story arc for Two Face which showed that he can excellently write a classic baddie and find new ways to make it current. But before all that jazz, we have his Villains Month issue for Two Face (A Tale of Two Faces) was probably the catalyst that launched Batman and Two Face because I maintain that it was singularly THE BEST VM story I have read (though I only read eight so far but I don't think I'll be changing my opinion about it either).

Now Tomasi graces us with another VM issue and this time it was about Scarecrow...only it really wasn't so much about Jonathan Crane and his origin story as it is about a Forever Evil/Arkham War prelude. It was unexpected, considering the way VM issues operated so far with a standard formula (where each Bat-villain would walk around a desecrated Gotham City, reminiscing about their past and present). Apparently, this issue is where we get updates pertaining to the various rogue villains and their division of territories. There was even that chilling full-paged illustration of Gotham City in savage ruins, while a few locations and landmarks were possessed by villains with their signature powers/symbols plastered all over each infrastructure. 

I liked this issue but I couldn't say it was what I wanted and expected from Tomasi' writing. It was simple in execution and very dialogue-heavy. Still, the atmosphere it established was unsettling and eerie, fully capturing the hellish state of things now that the heroes have been defeated, and evil is at its peak like we have never see before.

So this issue basically has Scarecrow going around to talk to Mr. Freeze, the Riddler and Poison Ivy to convince them about the soild plans and guaranteed security the League offers. He's a recruiter these days, and an affably accommodating neighbor of the evil sort. It's worth noting that Tomasi did write a Scarecrow-Two Face dialogue in the Two Face VM issue with a similar set-up so this was aligned with that, I suppose. Through this, we get a first-person perspective of how incredulously apocalyptic Gotham has become and the roles each villain could play and contribute. For that alone, I thought this issue was worth picking up. But as a VM issue re-telling an origin story of a classic Bat-villain, it didn't actually deliver any gravitas. Still, I had an awful lot of fun reading the dialogue boxes even if they were quite wordy and expository. I had no problem absorbing the information because it at least gave me a fair amount of idea about the emerging major story arc and how they will play out such as the ongoing Forever Evil saga and the arc that this opens for which is the Arkham War.


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