Though this series has been on a path towards being a much stronger book, this issue unfortunately falls prey to something that happens often in comics – repetition. The majority of this story feels exactly like every other Scarecrow arc out there. Scarecrow returns to Gotham, sprays Batman with some fear toxin, Batman relives his past (almost always his parents’ deaths), and then Batman beats Scarecrow. So far three of the four things have already occurred, and though it’s not impossible for Scarecrow to finally beat Batman, it’s highly unlikely. The only thing that saves this issue is the further development of Scarecrow’s origin. His childhood, with his psychotic father, is absolutely terrifying. In those pages are where Hurwitz and Finch shine. The dialog, the art, the perceived tension, it all works perfectly. Sadly, that does not bleed out into the rest of the issue. Maybe this is a case of a stagnant villain, or maybe it’s a genuine flaw with this team, only the next arc can answer that for us. 2.5/5
In just a couple dozen or so pages, Grant Morrison packs in quite a bit of storytelling. From the beginning of the first volume of Batman Inc., and even before that really, Leviathan’s presence has been felt. However, until now, the readers had not been privy to the inner workings of the group, how ruthless and how efficient they are. Morrison and Burnham visually depict just how vast and quickly Talia’s army grows, and if possible, it makes Batman’s quest appear even more daunting. This issue also continues to make use of individuals from the Bat-Family, which is consistent with Morrison’s entire run. Damian, who is rarely written this well by anyone other than Morrison, continues to be entertaining, amusing, and witty, much like he was throughout Batman and Robin. With this issue, Morrison has begun setting up the inevitable confrontation between Batman and Leviathan, and it looks to be an amazing finale. Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn illustrate a fantastic book here. Issue after issue this duo continues to impress with their fantastically matched artwork. 4.5/5
Though the Flash has been out of the spotlight for a while, Keystone City’s Rogues have not spent this time idly sitting at home on their couches. Rather, they’ve come under new management, and her name is Glider. There are a number of books that have done well since DC launched the New 52, but this book stands out as one of the best books that was actually rebooted from a previously successful series. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato not only have done a tremendous job with these past 12 issues, but with this issue they’ve set up an exciting future. They’ve revamped the Rogues’ status quo, elevating the ranks of some, powering up others, and ostracizing a few. All that aside, though, what Manapul and Buccellato have been able to do, that Geoff Johns wasn’t able to do in the previous Flash, was carve a place for Barry Allen in the modern world, in a way that is both new and exciting. 4.5/5
The secrets behind Wonder Girl’s armor are finally being revealed, and the Teen Titans appear to be in terrible danger. From her very first appearance in the new DC, Wonder Girl has felt completely out of place. She no longer has any connections to Wonder Woman, the Greek Gods, or anything else from her past, however, she’s been written with almost the same exact personality and characteristics; essentially she’s the same character without any of the history that made her into that character. This current arc, which is the first time Lobdell has delved into her past, feels like it should be important, however, this issue falls flat in that regard. Wonder Girl’s origin, which is essentially what this feels like it will be, doesn’t have the same spark that was there for the first 10 or 11 issues, and the only reason I can think of for this being the case, is that this version of Wonder Girl is too similar to the old, but at the same time, not the same. This character feels like an imposter, not an improvement, and this issue has done little to remedy that. 3/5
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