Scott Peterson delivers an amazing script here, as we really delve into Bruce’s psyche.
Batman and Scarecrow bounce around Gotham City together. The former is a block, powerful and reassuring, while the latter is a collection of diagonal limbs, creating chaos and action. Together they make for a fascinating contrast and deliver plenty of memorable panels. After a couple of issues featuring overly familiar Batman plotting, this one dials up the fun as the central duo take on an odd couple dynamic. The result is some genuinely funny moments all touched with a bit of madness.
[W]hile following Batman, Scarecrow realizes how his rival is as bizarre as the villains he fights. This is a great issue to show off Scarecrow for the outstanding villain he is. Batman is putty in his hands the entire time.
O.K. I get it now, Scott Peterson… I salute you.
In my previous reviews for this series I mentioned that I wasn’t sure where this story was going. Yes, as a means of showcasing the incredible art of the incomparable Kelley Jones it was succeeding admirably, but what was it actually about? Batman and Scarecrow have tussled countless times over the years and, until this issue, little of it has been outstanding. Previous writers have tried to have the two main protagonists battle it out as masters of fear, with Batman – obviously – always coming out on top. When this series was announced and the title revealed, I was honestly expecting more of the same.
Yes, I was wrong. I’m happy about that.
We sometimes forget that Jonathan Crane was once a psychiatrist and psychologist, so this issue was a revelation. The story was funny, shocking, surprising and pretty darned great. The dialogue between Batman and Scarecrow was terrific throughout. Honestly, I can’t believe nobody thought of this sooner! Kudos to Mr. Peterson, once again.
Scott Peterson and Kelley Jones’ “Evaluation” is both humorous and frightening when it comes to the current state of the Batman and what his crusade for Justice actually entails. While this continues to be a tale of Scarecrow trying to crack the ultimate fear code of the Dark Knight’s, Part Three of this series leaves the reader to figure out not what frightens Batman, but what drives him to protect Gotham.
Scarecrow makes a deal with the Dark Avenger: he will provide information about his hostage if he is able to give Batman the ultimate psyche evaluation. Personally, I’ve never seen Crane’s Scarecrow as funny as Peterson pens him to be in this issue alone. Even if it isn’t meant to make me laugh, Scarecrow’s surprised demeanor brings up an important point about why Batman IS Batman. Bruce isn’t just going out night after night fighting the major players in his classic rogues gallery like Joker or Two-Face. Some nights Bats just patrols star lit rooftops to assure that families get back to their house safely as they cross dim lit alleyways, something that is very familiar to this vigilante. Some nights being the Batman is as simple as making sure the city is calm, even if a colorful villain isn’t causing chaos. Peterson gave an eye opening look into Batman, both his crusade and his current problematic psyche, which always makes for a solid story when involving the God of Fear.
Scott Peterson’s script is smart and well-crafted and makes for an exciting reading experience. Scarecrow has thus far had the upper-hand on Batman and it appears as though there is no end in sight for his manipulation as he continues his examination. At points throughout the issue, Scarecrow points out the triviality of Batman’s nightly routine and pokes fun, calling him a Pro Bono Bodyguard and a Babysitter.
Kelley Jones continues to produce unique, stylized artwork that realizes the nightmare that is Gotham City after dark and personifies the fear that surrounds both the Dark Knight and his villains.