Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Batman: As the Crow Flies Review

Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Dustin Nguyen

After reading, and reviewing Batman: Hush I decided that I'd gradually go through my Batman collection which I own nearly every issue since Batman #608 (only missing one) but in graphic novel form as it'd take ages otherwise. Anyway this is my third review, having also reviewed Batman: Broken City, and I hope to do as many as I can as soon as possible, but due to only reading them casually (a story here and there) it might take a while to review them all.


Penguin is using Scarecrow to make a new Fear Toxin to use on people, but a mysterious new monster with similar abilities to Scarecrow appears.


This wasn't a bad story, but it was far from brilliant. Judd Winick has done some tremendous Batman stories in the past, with Under the Hood being one of his best, but this was far from that. Don't get me wrong it wasn't terrible, but not startling at the same time. For the first three issues of this story it's quite slow, and tedious, and doesn't have much of a mystery towards what's about to happen. The story did however get better in the last two issues, and I was very interested. Winick did a marvelous job near the end of the story, and it was very entertaining, whilst also showing signs of things to come, but unfortunately it was too late to make a huge effect on the overall quality of the story.

Dustin Nguyen did a brilliant job on the art in this story, and although he's not one of my favourite artists on Batman I do like his style. His art is marvelous, and the detail in it is outstanding. What I really like about Nguyen's art is the way he draws ordinary people. Although there are a lot of artist that draw Batman, or Robin (Tim Drake) better, I couldn't be more happier with the way he drew the ordinary people, like Alfred, or the mobsters. The character that I felt Nguyen drew best however was Penguin. I loved how he made him look awful sinister, and haggard, as it really mad him look more menacing. I also liked the way he drew Scarecrow, and the Monster Scarecrow, but there were a few people I didn't like his art on. The main one's are Tim as Robin, and Scarecrow as Crane. I felt that Crane did look realistic enough out of his Scarecrow costume, as I felt Nguyen's art made his face look awkward. I also felt that Tim looked too young in this story, and although Robin's meant to be you he looks even younger than he's meant to be.

I'll start by talking about the new Scarecrow monster. I liked this new Scarecrow monster, but felt that it didn't add much mystery. To be fair it had the slight questioning of who the creature really was, and if it was Crane, or some how connected to him, but it still wasn't much of a mystery. I did however like the extravagance in the look of this new Scarecrow monster, and liked that it's attitude was to simply create fear, and kill. I also loved the reaction to anyone that meet this creature, as besides Batman, Robin, and Alfred, everyone was in hysterics, like they should be. It was however nice to see a Scarecrow frighten people again.

This story also marked the first appearance of Fright (Linda Friitawa). To be honest due to forgetting what Fright's real name was, as well as forgetting she appeared in this story I didn't recognize the character. In away this made the re-discovery of Fright enjoyable as if I'd remembered that she was in this story I wouldn't be surprised. The thing I liked about Fright, or should I say Linda Friitawa, as that's what she's called, in this story was that she appeared all innocent throughout, and seemed to do nothing more than help Crane. I did however have my suspicions of her throughout, but it was for a different reason than the one revealed. When you have a character that appears so innocent, along with a bunch of known criminals, and add the fact she has a checkered past it's obvious that she isn't a saint. But overall it would have made a nice surprise to people who haven't read the story, or like me forget she was in it.

Batman vs. New Scarecrow
There was a huge fight between Batman and the new Scarecrow, which was amazing. The thing I liked most about this sequence was the thought boxes, as Winick did a brilliant job of showing how an expert like Batman thinks in situations like this, whilst adding in something unexpected. The fight was also brilliant visual wise, as Nguyen did a fabulous job of drawing the action. I do however think that the core of the fight was nothing overly special, and if it wasn't for the good art, and thought boxes it wouldn't have been as exciting. There was however another fight between the two that was much better, and very exciting. It was also written, and drawn very well, and Winick couldn't have ended the story any better.

Batman in the Batmobile
Although the first three issues in this story was good I liked how Winick used Batman. The thing I probably liked the most was that Winick made him scared, with the new Scarecrow monster affecting him. With most modern Scarecrow stories Batman doesn't get affected as he's found antidotes to the toxins, whereas this time he is. This added for what I classed the most interesting sequence in the story, in which Batman sees his fears. Besides that I also liked how Winick wrote Batman, as he showed him as the great tactician he is, and that although he was affected by this new Scarecrow that he still had some tricks to combat him.

Like Batman: Hush this story also gave hints towards the Under the Red Hood story, which like I said was also written by Winick. Whilst affected by the new Scarecrow Batman starts to see his nightmares, and when Tim comes to help him he sees the former Robin, Jason Todd. It's fitting that Winick would add this in this story, as the next Batman story he wrote was Under the Red Hood, which featured the returning Jason Todd. The sequence in this story was however still very emotional, and it shows that despite acting strong that Batman does have regrets, with the death of Jason being the biggest. I also liked that this showed question in Tim, as he questions whether he's still be Robin if Jason was to return.

Final Verdict

Although not brilliant this was still a good story. It shows a new Scarecrow, and puts Batman in unexpected situations, making for some interesting sequences. It also gives some brilliant hints for things that would happen in a late story. I would recommend this story, but unless you're a huge Batman fan I wouldn't rush to buy it, as there are plenty of better stories out there.

Rating: 3.5/5

The next book I'll be reviewing from this series will be Batman: War Games Act 1: Outbreak.

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