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COMIC BOOK REVIEW - The Dark Knight: Cycle of Violence
By The Masked Medic
The New 52 was a great time to be a Batman fan. It felt like there was a series for every single Batman reader, and whereas the ‘Batman’ and ‘Detective Comics’ series seemed to focus more on mainstream readers, other novels like ‘The Dark Knight’ told stories that perhaps didn’t make the cut for the main plot. That being said, I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, so I was enthusiastic to continue.
‘Cycle of Violence’ tells the story of how Batman first comes to face off against the mysterious villain, Scarecrow. Scarecrow, aka Jonathan Crane, has been kidnapping children in order to carry out his sadistic experiments of what creates fear in people. As Commissioner Gordon and Batman attempt to crack the case, both are captured in turn by Scarecrow and subjected to his infamous fear toxin. When used on Batman, we see a multitude of flashbacks of how Batman came to be, but we also see the parallels between him and Crane. What ensues is a battle between two men who have had to fight their fears over a lifetime.
Perhaps it’s because this series wasn’t the main ‘Batman’ series at the time, and so didn’t have the pressure of delivering the best story week after week, but this novel was such a thrill. In focusing on just one villain, and what is essentially a fairly grounded story, ‘Cycle of Violence’ is able to intricately highlight the fine line between hero and villain in this urban city.
The artwork, by David Finch, was excellent, although I found some of the panels to be excessively bloody and violent. The covers were also quite striking, and overall, I quite enjoyed this novel!
Never let it be said that Batman only beats up criminals. This panel really highlights why he’s considered a hero.
I mean, I know there’s no choice, but genuinely this Batman is impressive. He calm, measured but unrelenting in chasing justice.
Story Arc: ★★★½
Character Development: ★★★★