Batman the Dark Knight Volume 2: Cycle of Violence

Collecting Batman the Dark Knight #0, 10-15

Writer: Gregg Hurwitz

Artist: David Finch

DC Comics, $22.99, color, 160 pages

The first BTDK collection was a hot mess, story-wise, but I gave it a pass for the art of David Finch. This collection may push me past that excuse.

I gather, without any official confirmation, that Batman the Dark Knight is the Bat-book that will emphasize Batman's rogues gallery. The first collection included Clayface, Scarecrow, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Two-Face, White Rabbit and maybe some others I missed.

This one, however, really features only one villain: Scarecrow. Aside from the zero issue at the back, this is a five-issue Scarecrow tale that provides his New 52 origin, where we learn that -- shock, surprise and boo hoo -- Scarecrow was mistreated as a boy, and now he does that to other people (hence: "Cycle of Violence"). He infects Gotham with yet another new fear serum, which Batman addresses with the single stupidest plan I have ever seen in a modern Batman book.

So if jaw-dropping stupid is what you're looking for, you're in luck! Or if cliched origins are in your wheelhouse, step up to the plate! Or if Scarecrow is your favorite Bat-villain, then this is the book for you!

Me, I'm no fan of stupid stories, cliches or the Scarecrow, so even Finch art doesn't save this one for me. Maybe I'm too judgmental, but I think that's it for me and Batman the Dark Knight.

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I actually am a fan of the Scarecrow and I thought the first couple of issues showed some promise, but boy did it go bad.  The final issue, in addition to being everything you described, read more like a plot summary than anything I've ever read.  It convinced me that Hurwitz, rather than simply putting in a poor freshman showing, just doesn't understand the different demands of the medium as opposed to prose.

I didn't know he was a prose writer.

But even prose writers know you can't spread five liters of a liquid over an entire city. Children know that.

I've actually enjoyed this series myself.I didn't mind the Scarecrow story too much, I just thought it went on for too long. I also really enjoy the fact that it isn't dragged into every Batman super-story that goes on.

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