One of the coolest things about Scarecrow is how he turns the fears of seemingly unshakable heroes against them. They may stand for good and appear perfect, but deep down there’s always something that they can’t face. Scarecrow is currently battering Batwoman mentally and continues to do so this week; can she overcome? Can he?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“FEAR AND LOATHING” part three! Drugged by the Scarecrow’s fear toxin and trapped in an unrelenting desert, Batwoman must find her way free of her fears as she avoids capture by the Many Hands of Death and her father’s agent, Colony Prime.
Why does this matter?
Marguerite Bennett and Fernando Blanco are making magic with this latest story arc. It’s trippy, but delves into Batwoman’s psyche in interesting ways. If you like character work in your comics you’ve come to the right place.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Great, these assholes again.
Blanco continues to do an excellent job on this series and there’s plenty of messed up imagery to enjoy. Scarecrow makes a few appearances and his glowing eyes and freakish teeth are pretty creepy. There’s an Alice in Wonderland reference at one point which Blanco backs up well with a trippy new location for Batwoman to figure out and overcome. When done right, Scarecrow can be one of the most interesting characters and visually he comes off as a powerhouse here. There’s an impressive double page spread for instance, as Scarecrow towers over Batwoman 50 stories tall. Along the bottom of the page, Blanco draws panels that are tilted and stretched, giving Batwoman’s transformation a twisted look that’s pretty cool. The way these panels tilt give Batwoman’s transformation a walled off and structural look that adds a visual meaning to the moment.
Her character arc is rather interesting in this issue as well. Working to survive with her semi-brother (it’s complicated), daddy issues are brought into their emotional conflict. She deals with real fear and doubts the story progresses, which includes the terrible things she’s supposed to do in the future even. Bennett has her turn things around however, and she makes a strong point about her relationship with fear. She’s had a very complicated and difficult life so a baddie like Scarecrow shouldn’t be so certain he can do whatever he likes with her when it comes to fear.
Blanco draws a freaky Scarecrow.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I like the idea of how Batwoman turns things around, but I’m not sold on it in practice. When characters overcome things with sheer willpower, especially in comics, it can come off a bit cheap and unearned. That happens here, and it seems convenient to the plot, but there is no actual action to make it happen. She simply hears what Scarecrow is saying and just decides not to accept it. It’s an empowering element if you think about how we can control how we feel and thus our lives, but I don’t buy it here.
Is It Good?
Visually striking and interesting, Batwoman #9 is filled with emotional conflict and nightmares. The big cliffhanger doesn’t seem well earned, but hell, it’s still an entertaining comic!