Call me crazy, but wasn’t there a huge-ass blimp at the end of issue #14? I distinctly remember a scene in which Scarecrow visited the Penguin and was all like “Hey, do you have that giant Scarecrow blimp I ordered?” and then there was a shot of Scarecrow flying the blimp over a stampeding crowd. What the hell happened with that? That’s so weird that the whole blimp thing was just dropped. This whole arc has been kind of goofy. It was so slow and intimate for so long and then in that last issue it became a giant blimp attack on Gotham City thing and now in this issue what we get is some Batman and Alfred drama and almost no Scarecrow whatsoever. This arc dragged on for far too long and in the end Scarecrow’s final confrontation with Batman lasted 3 panels

Spoiler
And I hesitate to even call it a confrontation since those 3 panels simply showed the various stages of Scarecrow falling on his ass
. Hurwitz’s Penguin: Pain & Prejudice was structured just as strangely. It’s as if he doesn’t think you can have a climax to a Batman story without going super ridiculously big. I’m all for doing a big Scarecrow story in which he tries to terrorize the city but you need to arrive at that sort of even organically, not inject it in the very final chapter of a flashback heavy narrative told from inside a basement. It stretched on for 4 issues without ever being that kind of story, then tried to become that for about 10 pages or so and then finished quietly again.

Obviously, if you’ve been reading this arc since the beginning you’ll want to pick this up just so you can see how it all ends but I found it pretty underwhelming. The entire arc was underwhelming. It started out with a lot of promise in issue #10 but really didn’t go anywhere. The biggest problem is that it was 6 issues long. There’s no reason for this story have been that lengthy. We really didn’t need to spend three issues in Scarecrow’s basement. In fact, the whole story could’ve been tightened up a hell of a lot with some good editing and been cut down to 3 solid issues tops. Cut out the blimp nonsense, just keep it a psychological tale that dealt with Scarecrow’s past and have that be that. There’s no call for “Go big or go home” here. We’ve seen the “The city’s infected, I need an antidote! (5 minutes later) Good we have the antidote!” thing before. We know how that plays out. There was even some “Batman is dead! We have to revive him!” drama in here that lasted oh….3 pages? There was a lot crammed into this issue and you have to to wonder if it wouldn’t have read better if we didn’t spend so much time in the damn basement earlier in the arc.

The best moments I found were between Alfred and Bruce and Bruce and his girlfriend. Seeing Alfred’s anger with Bruce was really interesting and should hopefully be used as a sub-plot in the next arc. And having Bruce behave like a decent boyfriend was good too, but I felt that whatshername forgave him pretty easily.

As you probably know, this was David Finch’s final issue of Batman: The Dark Knight as the artist and for the most part it retains the same scratchy, gritty style he’s used in the previous issues, but some panels come off as more hurried and less detailed than others. It’s the end of an era for Finch who has worked on every issue of this series even before the New 52 in some capacity either as writer or artist.

TL;DR: There’s a lot going on in this issue as it hurries to tie up every loose end from the past 5 chapters and in the process it actually becomes one of the best paced issues Hurwitz has cranked out so far. If only the other issues had moved as quickly this whole thing might have turned out better. Those who have kept up with this arc from the start will want to see how it ends, but you could really just guess for yourself since it’s not anything you haven’t seen before. I found this to be a very disappointing and unmemorable arc and hope things improve in the upcoming Mad Hatter story.

SCORE: 6/10