As I mentioned in my review of “Joker’s Asylum: the Penguin”, DC sure didn’t hesitate to throw some more chum into the frenzied waters following the release of “The Dark Knight” film. Whereas the Penguin story had a nice focus on the foibles and features of Oswald Cobblepot, this issue fell a little short.
Joe Harris turns in a story of insincerity and revenge, an almost-cliche tale, if the Scarecrow hadn’t made an appearance. This issue didn’t focus on Jonathan Crane as much as it used Crane as a tool to provide the outcome with a twist. Very easily, this story could have had Dr. Psycho or some other psychologically-focused character filling Scarecrow’s straw-encrusted shoes instead, and it wouldn’t have changed the tale all that much.
Juan Doe, on the other hand, turns in a nicely composed visual assignment that treads somewhere between Darwyn Cooke and Sean “Cheeks” Galloway. While I’ve seen Doe’s work before, it escapes me where it was, but I do not recall it carrying this style, which fits the tale of terror nicely. Scarecrow’s big reveal is an especially powerful panel, as it relays an uneasy sense of perception that one would have to assume follows the Scarecrow wherever he goes.
The big problem is, the Scarecrow’s big reveal is after the staple, making the majority of the tale seem like the latest installment of the “Nightmare Scream on Halloween the 13th” movies. The Scarecrow is practically a guest star in his own book. That, to me, is a shame.
These issues should be celebrating the foes of the Bat, not hiding them behind a larger story that presses the character towards irrelevance. True, the majority of the happenings in the book are the direct result of the Scarecrow, but it just doesn’t feel like a Scarecrow tale, as much as it is a tale that happens to include the Scarecrow.
That said, the story, in and of itself, removed from the context of being part of the “Dark Knight” push is an enjoyable one, with a nice twist at the end that may or may not have been expected, depending on how adept the reader is and/or how adept they claim to be. While not the greatest story I’ve ever read, this tale does provide some entertainment, but not enough to encourage me to purchase the next in this “Joker’s Asylum” collection without serious consideration of other options.