What villain is uglier than Bane? And looks like a tumulus vein. It's that chap with the specs. Who gets very vexed. When people call him Jonathan Crane. But I won't tell you what these guys call him. Writer: Gregg Hurwitz; Artist: David Finch; and Publisher: DC Comics in August 2012. It not very nice you know. It rhymes with Daffy Duck.

So what’s the STORY morning glory?
Their used to be a program on the television called 'This Is Your Life'. Basically it was a review show where a 'special guest' would be greeted by friends from their times past, who would reminisce with them about the 'good old days'. Now if you take this basic premise, and then replace the word's 'friends' and 'good' with the word's 'enemy' and 'bad', you'd have a pretty good idea what this issue of the Dark Knight -- entitled 'Mirror, Mirror' -- is all about.

  • Picture the scene. Batman looks like a cured duck hanging from an Oriental convenience store, and standing next to him is the bag-wearing screw-ball known as the Scarecrow.  
  • But the Scarecrow doesn't just stand. Oh no. He douses the duck night detective with a potent fear toxin that reminds him of his past.
  • You know the score, I'm sure. The bats. The parents. The deaths. And the loneliness. But the funny thing about all this is; is that Jonathan Crane can relate to these scenarios on a very deep and personal level.
  • Well, except for a strange revelation uttered by a young Bruce on the very last page of course. 

To be continued...

What is the most memorable SENTENCE OR CONVERSATION spoken in this issue?
For me the stand out piece of dialogue in this issue was the last thing said by a young Bruce Wayne -- 'What if I don't want to be human?'. Wow! That just zipped out of nowhere, didn't it? Plus I have to confess that the very somber and intense vibe this panel exhibited, gave the overall story a new and fresh point of view -- like the enigmatic gunshot at the end of 'The French Connection' for example.  

What was the BEST thing about this issue?
Including the enigmatic ending mentioned above, I also dug the fact that this story actually managed to tell a 'compare the hero to the villain' type tale, without it coming across as being too pat or too blatant in tone. I am sure we've all seen this type of thing before, right? But the way that Gregg has given this 'old formula' a 'new structure' really did aide the overall yarn in retrospect. Good job. 

What was the WORST thing about this issue?
My one small miniscule tiny-tetchy micro-gripe with this tale, is all to do with how easily Scarecrow ditched Gordon from his custody as if it was nothing more than water off of a ducks back, QUACK-QUACK! Well, it was the main thrust in the previous issue, huh?

What was the most CREATIVE thing about this issue?
STORY: There was a scene in this book where a young Jonathan Crane stabs at an unknown victim without any explanation given. The silence worked just nicely I thought. Giving his oration a mysterious and aloof vibe that was more vibrant than the blood red splatter displayed.

ART: There was a triple page spread in this book which illustrated Batman's allies in thoughtful posses, before it then transformed into him fighting all of his old foes a panel at a time. Truthfully, it was nicely presented segment to follow. I liked how the muted colour pallet worked in conjunction with David's visuals very well. Poster worthy. All of them.  

If you had to CAST TWO CHARACTERS in this comic book, who would they be and why?
YOUNG JOHNATHAN CRANE: After reading who I'd cast as 'Young Crane' last issue (click here to see who that was) I've decided to cast them once again based on the actors in the Harry Potter universe. Therefore I'd cast Daniel Radcliffe himself as Crane Junior...

CRANE SENIOR: ... where as for Crane Senior I'd have to pick the actor who looks like he has no problem hitting small children, John Hurt. Heck, his name even sounds painful. So I must be on the right lines, huh?

If this issue had a MOVIE TAG LINE, what would it be?
You Can't Run. You Can't Hide. And You Can't Scream. Because You're Tied To A Table And Being Tortured By A Mad-Man. Vote Conservative.

If this issue were a MOVIE, an OBJECT, or a piece of MUSIC, what would that be and why? 
Aesthetically 'misery' is a silent character that runs all the way through this issue. So why not compare it to the Kathy Bates 'tastic' film from the 1990's called 'Misery'? Just more colourful and a little less sinister.

FINAL thoughts...
Oh Sh*t!! Have you heard the bad news? David Finch is leaving this book because he's going to draw DC's new 'Justice League of America' title. Shame he's had to go now, huh? Especially since this series has finally been injected with some much needed personality, spirit, and story! Still, you know the old saying -- 'easy come, easy go, and never be scared of a brand new beau'. Though I wonder who this book's new beaux might be! Any suggestions people? I'd like Norm Breyfogle myself.  Or maybe someone like Garry Frank. Still, horses for courses.

MARKS out of 10? 8.4

THE DARK KNIGHT #12 THE DARK KNIGHT #12 Reviewed by David Andrews on September 07, 2012 Rating: 5
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