Artist: Scot Eaton
Although the Villains Month prequels in the Scarecrow and Bane issues weren't as good as I hoped they would I have still been looking forward to this series, with this being the only mini-series from Forever Evil that I'll be getting bar Forever Evil itself.
With Bane's arrival near, Scarecrow turns to Penguin for advice on how to deal with him.
This was surprisingly a very good opening issue for the series, as I half expected the first issue to be of the same quality level that the Villains Month prequels were. Peter J. Tomasi did however do a very good job of kicking this off, giving people who missed Villains Month a reader friendly issue, whilst also allowing people who read the prequels a better reading experience. The issue itself was also brilliantly paced, as even the slower sequences had the perfect mood and tone, with the exciting moments also being very explosive, and dramatic. Tomasi also did a great job of adding as many villains as he could without it feeling forced, and I was very happy that he added a smaller villain like Professor Pyg.
The artwork on this issue was also amazing, and Scot Eaton did a fantastic job. The detail throughout the issue was brilliant, with everything being very consistent. I also really enjoyed the way that Eaton laid his artwork out, as it helped with the overall pace of the issue, adding a lot of depth, and also being very dynamic. Eaton also did a brilliant job with the character movement, and expression in this issue as well, as it allowed for so much more excitement and drama, also adding even more depth to the issue. I also loved how Eaton drew Bane, as he managed to make him look like the monster that he is, showing the intensity that he brings, which isn't easy considering you can't show much facial expressions.
The main theme of this issue would be Bane's imminent arrival, and due to this the issue would see Scarecrow frantically going about trying to find ways of stopping Bane. This would included Scarecrow having interactions with both Professor Pyg and the new mayor of Gotham, the Penguin. Now I really enjoyed this, as although I have found Scarecrow's personal fear to be a hindrance for his character, it was handled in a brilliant way in this issue. I also really enjoyed the Penguin's lack of concern over this, as it showed his characteristics perfectly.
This issue would also see Bane on a rampage, with his main target in this issue being Blackgate Penitentiary. Bane was easily the most enjoyable character to read in this issue, and Tomasi really seems to know what he's doing, as although his Bane Villains Month issue was rather slow, he has made up for that big time in this issue. I also really enjoyed seeing Bane exert his dominance, and how it was extremely clear that he didn't care about anything besides taking control of Gotham. I also enjoyed how Tomasi showed Bane's intelligence, as although he doesn't care what he has to do, he still very much has a plan about how best to accomplish his goal.
Another thing that I enjoyed about this issue was that we got to see how the Gotham City Police Department was dealing with the sudden carnage, with Commissioner James Gordon making an appearance. Now his appearance wasn't long in this issue, and that was probably a very good thing, as it didn't take away from the two main characters, Bane and Scarecrow. I did however feel that it was a great addition, as with Batman gone there needed to be some sign of protection for the city, as although they may not be winning, it wouldn't be right to show not attempt at all to stop these villains.
This was a fantastic issue, and much better than I originally thought it would be. It was however still not perfect, but did set the series up brilliantly, and I'm expecting a lot from the future of the series now. This issue itself was also very dramatic and exciting, being perfectly paced, with the slower parts even having brilliant tone to counter that. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this issue, as it is well worth giving a try.