Batman: Dark Knight, Vol.2 – “Cycle of Violence” (DC)

BatmanDarkKnight-Vol.02Writer: Gregg Hurwitz | Artist: David Finch | Inks: Richard Friend (#10) | Colors: Sonia Oback

The Scarecrow has returned to Gotham City, but he’s no longer the meek punching bag Batman is used to. The villainous genius has always preyed on the worst fears of his victims, but has refined his legendary fear toxin to even greater effectiveness and deadlier consequences. As the Scarecrow’s origin is unfurled, Batman must find out not only how to conquer this dangerous psychopath, but how to beat his own worst fear.

Collects: Batman: Dark Knight #10-15

This story arc, the first from New York Times bestselling thriller author Gregg Hurwitz, is simply brilliant. It covers some familiar Batman-Scarecrow ground (and also back story), but with a more contemporary, sinister edge. Hurwitz has taken a very psychological approach to the story (there’s not as much action as many comic authors inject into Dark Knight tales), and he really pulls it off, delving into the mind and past of both the Scarecrow and Batman. I was hooked from the first page, and blitzed through this in one quick, satisfying sitting.


Finch’s artwork, Oback’s colors and Friend’s inks are absolutely superb. Everything works together to enhance the story in every way: from the wonderful, clever use of shadows, shading and especially the facial expressions, to the effectively silent pages. For example, these two, from the first chapter, which were particularly powerful and moving:


Overall, then (and excuse the short review – I don’t want to spoil the story), this is very, very good indeed. Hurwitz’s story is just all-round, dark brilliance: the writing, artwork, everything comes together perfectly. This is, without doubt, one of the best Batman stories I’ve read. The series is a keeper once again.


Original Series Covers

For the review, I read the digital editions of the single issues, bought from ComiXology.

Batman: Dark Knight – “Golden Dawn” (DC)

DarkKnight-GoldenDawnWriter: David Finch | Artist: David Finch (#1-4), Jason Fabock (#4-5) | Inks: Scott Williams (#1-3), Richard Friend (#3), Ryan Winn (#4), Batt (#4-5), Sal Regla (#5), Jaime Mendoza (#5), Ray McCarthy (#5), Greg Adams (#5) | Colors: Alex Sinclair (#1-3), Peter Steigerwald (#4-5), Tony Aviña (#5)

Delving into the more supernatural and esoteric areas of Gotham City, the five-part storyline explores the horrific murder of one of Bruce Wayne’s childhood friends… and the terrible ramifications the brutal crime has on Batman’s life.

Collects: Batman: Dark Knight – Golden Dawn #1-5

Just a very quick review. I’d been going back and forth about reading this book for a while, but I eventually bit the bullet and dove in. It was pretty good, but not without its flaws. Overall, if you’re a fan of the darker, weirder and more-supernatural elements of the DCU, then this should suit your tastes.

The synopsis isn’t quite as accurate as it could have been. Batman is on the trail of a missing society girl, Dawn Golden, who he knew as a child. Naturally, Batman gets close to crossing the line (he does a real number on the Penguin). Judging by the first couple of issues/chapters of this mini-series, I can certainly see why DC offered Finch his own Bat-title for the New 52.


At the same time, it has all of the same hallmarks, and some of same weaknesses – for example, the story’s pretty short, and as a result doesn’t delve too deeply into the events, and certainly doesn’t spend much time with set up. It felt a little like an early Darkness story, actually, weird as that may sound (a series published by Image/Top Cow). For example, it was odd to see the demon Etrigan involved. And some other, more demonic characters.


I think I would recommend this if you like your Batman stories a little more supernaturally-flavoured (which I usually do not). I think this could and should have been longer. There’s just not enough character development, and Etrigan’s involvement doesn’t feel particularly well incorporated. The relationship between Bruce and Dawn could have been expanded a great deal, I think, and would have allowed for more of a psychological, backward-looking story.

Sadly, this felt a little thin in the end. That being said, the visuals are excellent. Sadly, that aforementioned lack of build up also robs the ends of its tragic impact (it’s sad, sure, but I think we were meant to find it more affecting).