Tag Archives: Scarecrow

Batman: Haunted Knight

220px-Batman_Haunted_Knight_coverIn this collection of Stories, we see Batman early in his career butting heads with several enemies from his rogues’ gallery.

In the first tale, Batman must confront the scarecrow again as he has begun to experiment on animals with his fear toxin.  The plot is similar to most scarecrow stories, using his fear toxin, he terrorizes the city on Halloween night.  What makes this story a little different is Bruce Wayne’s romance with a mysterious lady named Jillian.  One of the highlights of this story is Batman’s weakness as Bruce Wayne.  As a man, in reality, he misses things that he would otherwise notice as Batman but that is where Alfred shows his true worth as he does a little detective work of his own.  Its this action by Alfred that illustrates that sometimes even Batman may overlook something and may at times, require the help of others.

In the second tale, we witness Barbara Gordon in her teenage years (before taking up the mantle of Batgirl or Oracle) fall victim to a kidnapping committed by the Mad Hatter.  In his insane attempts at recreating wonderland, he dresses Barbara Gordon up as Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) and insists she attend his tea party.  This story brilliantly shows us how manic and disillusioned the Mad Hatter really is.  One of the stories sub-plots also connects the story of Alice in Wonderland to the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents indicating that whenever he fights the Mad Hatter he is reminded of that night and consistently puts the blame on himself for their death.

In the third story, Batman has to deal with his very own Scrooge moment.  Just as it happened in Charles Dickens ‘A Christman Carol,’ Batman is visited by three ghosts of the past, present, and future.  These ghosts show Batman how his obsession with taking up the mantle of Batman affects Bruce Wayne.  We see aspects of Batman’s personality and fears that are very rarely shown.  The tale is very simple but also very enjoyable.

This whole book connects and references famous works, stories and children’s rhymes while maintaining the theme of Halloween throughout the whole book.  All three tales are enjoyable to read and give greater depth to the character of Batman.

Purchase Batman: Haunted Knight

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Batman: The Long Halloween

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Batman: Four Of A Kind

Batman Four of a kindThis collection of Batman tales focuses on Batman earlier years of crime-fighting.  Each story is a separate story portraying Batman’s first run-ins with popular villains from his rogue’s gallery.

In the first tale, we see that Batman is still building his arsenal and has his first encounter with Poison Ivy.  As is often the case with Poison Ivy storylines, Batman falls victim to her toxins and needs to find the cure.  There isn’t a lot to this storyline and the plot is a little thin, however, we do get to see a younger, naive Ivy which is great for Poison Ivy fans as it indicates that the beautiful seductress we all know and love was at one point a little green.

The second story gives insight into Edward Nigma’s loneliness as a child which led him developing his know it all persona.  This need to be recognized and praised instead of being a laughing stock allows us to see a side of the Riddler we aren’t used to.  What this story illustrates brilliantly is that the Riddler can be a successful criminal and at times can outsmart Batman.  However, it’s his arrogance that often leads to his downfall.

The third story takes Batman’s main weapon of fear and turns it against him.  Drawing Parallels to the Wizard of Oz and Sleepy Hollow, the Scarecrow’s origin is fleshed out.  We get to see why he is obsessed with fear and what led to his creation of the Scarecrow.  We even see how he managed to use his skeletal frame to his advantage.  Similar to the Riddlers origin, this story shows how the bullied becomes the bully.

The fourth story is, in my opinion, the weakest story of the bunch.  This is the origin story of the Manbat.  Professor Langstrom attempts to cure his deafness by taking a serum that he has developed.  At first, the results are as expected but then things go horribly wrong.  This is your stereotypical mad scientist turns himself into a monster story that has been seen over and over.  It’s not a bad story but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

Overall this is an enjoyable collection of stories, each story is different and each one adds to Batman’s earlier years as the Dark Knight.  It is certainly worth a read if you are a new reader and wish to understand some of Batman’s more popular villains.

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Batman: The Long Halloween

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