Detective Comics 23.3
Special “Villains Month” Title: Scarecrow 1
Peter J. Tomasi, Szymon Kudranski
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Excluding the Batman (Penguin) issue and the Swamp Thing (Arcane) issue, this week’s Detective Comics tie-in (which is actually more of a Batman: The Dark Knight tie-in) to Villains Month and Forever Evil was my favorite. But that should come as no surprise to anyone who reads my reviews (or is a lifelong DC fan, for that matter). After all, any and every comic ever associated with writer (or even editor) Peter J. Tomasi is nothing short of incredible. Add the spectacular artwork of Szymon Kudranski into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for some deliciously evil storytelling. And I have to say, it’s about time the Scarecrow not only took center stage but was actually presented in a way without focusing on his crippling anxieties or his almost instant defeat at the hands of every single character he’s ever come into conflict with.
One of the issue’s greatest strengths, as is the case with all of Tomasi’s work, is the perfect characterization of its characters. Though this is a Scarecrow issue, it also features memorable scenes with Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and numerous other Gothamites after the events of the first issue of Forever Evil have them dividing up the city into their own regions. This is reminiscent of No Man’s Land (and the nostalgic part of me loves that) in more ways than one, and that brings me to the issue’s second highlight: Tomasi’s knowledge of events outside of his own writing duty, past, present, and future. Perhaps that comes from being an editor himself, or perhaps it just comes from, you know, actually caring. Either way, it makes for not only an enjoyable read, but also an intelligent one. And call me crazy, but little touches like Scarecrow telling every villain he encounters that he sought them out “first” and even the Riddler half-assedly trying to warn the henchman that Scarecrow is going to kill him as soon as he outlives his purpose show us just how much Tomasi loves these characters and his job.
It’s comics by writers like Tomasi, as well as Kyle Higgins, Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, Frank Tieri, Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, Geoff Johns, and a handful of others, that make reading comics fun. And they are proving that yes, Batman and his rogues gallery will sell a book, but it’s the writers and artists who make the reader forget, albeit temporarily, that these are actually fictional characters, who deserve the praise. If more writers like them took on high profile books, DC would be unstoppable forever. So, I guess what I’m saying is this: Don’t accept mediocrity. And definitely don’t buy crap. Support the comics and the creators that consistently make you want to talk to people who don’t read comics and try to win them over. Support the comics and creators who respect the past, acknowledge the present, and look to the future. If we all start doing this, we’ll get comics like this filling the stands. So start now by buying the fancy cover for an extra dollar. It’s awesome.
My Rating: 5/5