Comic Book Review – Batman #627 (July 2004)

Batman # 627

Writer – Judd Winick

Artist – Dustin Nguyen

“As the Crow Flies Part Two”

My friend Cole is working on completing an epic Batman run and I found out the issues he is looking for recently. I went to Eide’s on Friday to help clear my head after a hellish day at work. The comic book store is both my happy place and sanctuary. I was digging through the back-issue cabinets and found two issues Cole needs for his collection. I decided to give one of them a read before I send them to him. Just don’t let Cole know!

Batman confronts a gangster named Eddie “The Buck” Buccelli about his associates, Big Tommy A and Rubin DeSoto. Both men suddenly went insane and died shortly thereafter. Batman learns that the Penguin is the head crime lord of Gotham, who ascended to the top thanks to a bloodless coup. The secret to his success: he recently brought Jonathan Crane aka the Scarecrow into the fold. Although Penguin holds untold wealth and power, a chat between him and Batman causes Oswald Cobblepot to lose his confidence, as paranoia starts to fill his mind. He verbally abuses Jonathan Crane in front of his assistant, Dr. Friitawa. She tells Jonathan that he should be held in high regard and this gives the good doctor an idea. As Bruno, one of the captains in Penguin’s regime, is about to leave for an impromptu meeting with the Penguin, the Scarecrow ambushes Bruno and his men. The Scarecrow kills everyone except for Bruno, who tries to gun the villain down. As the gun clicks empty, Bruno comes face to face with Scarecrow. A look of horror fills Bruno’s eyes as he witnesses the arrival of the frightening and unstoppable Scarebeast!

If you come across any comic book with Judd Winick’s name on the cover, you are in for a treat. He had a proven track record of taking a character and elevating them to a high level of prominence. In this issue alone, he makes the Penguin and the Scarecrow the stars of the show. Winick did a great job utilizing Batman’s Rogues, old and new, to cause trouble for the Caped Crusader. This take on Penguin seems to be the version we will be getting in The Batman. Oswald is sophisticated and intelligent – using all his resources to his advantage to become the de facto crime boss of Gotham. Oswald’s partnership with Dr. Crane seems to be on solid footing until the Penguin’s run-in with Batman. Crane’s new deadly and monstrous evolution as Scarebeast, beautiful illustrated and the nightmarishly brought to life by Nguyen, will probably become a cause for alarm for the Penguin next issue. Both men are on a collision course with one another with the fate of the city hanging in the balance. Can Batman stop the machinations of these mad men and what will it take to do so?

Next Issue – The Penguin’s alliance with the Scarecrow seems to be more lethal than even the Penguin expected. What sorts of horrors are being unleashed on an unsuspecting Gotham City? And has Scarecrow gone too far in transforming himself into a hulking monster?