Friday, May 10, 2013

SHADOW OF THE BAT #17 - Late September 1993

The God of Fear - Part Two
Credits:  Alan Grant (writer), Bret Blevins (penciler and inker), Todd Klein (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)

Summary:  Scarecrow sends his brainwashed doppelgangers into the city to wreck havoc, as he visits the home of the son of his first victim, Paul Herold.  While searching the family’s massive library, Scarecrow recounts his origin to Paul’s son.  After watching a booby-trapped tape left for him, Batman searches the city for Scarecrow.  Anarky simultaneously catches one of Scarecrow’s doppelgangers.  When Scarecrow sends a massive holographic message for the entire city, Anarky decides to use the opportunity to catch both Scarecrow and Batman.

Irrelevant Continuity:  Scarecrow is obsessed with books, which is an idea that I don’t think has made it into any outside media adaptations.  I’m assuming the origin story he presents here of a misanthropic college professor who turns to crime to help feed his book addiction is fairly close to his first origin story.

I Love the ‘90s:  Scarecrow leaves a VHS tape for Batman at the university.  The magnesium is booby-trapped to explode.

Review:  I’m not sure how well this arc holds up when compared to other Scarecrow storylines from this era, but it’s becoming a chore to read.  The hook of the story appears to be some vague ideas about fear replacing religion as the new means of maintaining order in society, but the execution is a mess.  Grant spends an inordinate amount of time having Scarecrow recount his origin and elucidate his philosophy on fear, but never succeeds in making him an engaging enough villain to stand out amongst the thousand other “sophisticated” foes that quote Shakespeare repeatedly.  Making matters worse is Batman doing the same thing he did last issue (beating up faceless thugs), and Anarky doing the same thing he did last issue (beating up faceless thugs, while also trying to justify why killing Batman fits into his philosophy).  It’s dull, which is the last thing a Scarecrow story should be.


Anonymous said...

Chore is probably the best word to describe this arc. Usually I like Alan Grant, and when he worked with Breyfogle, they meshed well, but this Shadow of the Bat stuff during the crossover always seemed like it was mediocre at best

Teebore said...

I'm not going to lie: I never had these issues when I assembled my run of "Knightfall" when I first read it back in the day. When I re-read it recently via the trade, I pretty much skimmed most of this story. A chore indeed.

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