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Dark Victory
by yo go re

Back before it was trendy to hate Jeph Loeb, he wrote two of the best Batman stories of the past decade. The Long Halloween was the sort of Scarecrow genuine mystery long absent from the Batbooks, and Dark Victory was an able follow-up. Part of the fun was seeing how much of Batman's prodigious rogues' gallery was worked into the story.

Clues lead the Caped Crusader to the Scarecrow, but could this fear-monger be the killer he's looking for?

Loeb really seems to like the Scarecrow, even if he can never seem to think of anything for the guy to do. Dr. Jonathan Crane's evil alterego shows up in every one of Loeb's "parade of villainy" stories, but does little more than quote some nursery rhymes and get beaten up. For a recurring enemy who's repeatedly proven himself to be a real threat, the Scarecrow doesn't exactly have the best track record.

On the plus side, that does mean artists get to show off their interpretations of the Scarecrow, a villain just begging for some kooky visuals. Tim Sale's version is dark and angular, and the only part that looks stereotypically "scarecrowy" is the face.

bag head The Dark Victory figures were sculpted by Paul Harding, who did a fine job of capturing Sale's unique artwork. Scarecrow is incredibly thin, as you might expect, and his fingers are pointed claws - though whether that's meant to be literal or just an effect of his fear toxins is up to you. He's dressed in layers for those cold Gotham nights, with black gloves under a light gray suit and a dark grey smock. His boots curl up at the toes, for some reason, but it works for him.

it's still better than the hats church ladies wear on easter Scarecrow is wearing the biggest, silliest hat this side of a cartoon witch. It easily makes up a third of his 8¾" height. His hair is made of straw, and his head seems oddly non-existent behind that stitched and stretched mask. He's got a noose around his neck like a tie, and his shoulders seem to have a stick running across them, suggesting the armature that would keep a real scarecrow standing.

shoulder stick The figure's articulation is pretty much what you'd expect from a DC Direct offering: balljointed neck, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivels in the forearms, peg hips, pin knees, and pegs at the tops of the boots. Since his smock is a separate piece, it's surprising that he doesn't have a waist under there.

Talking Tammy In addition to a "sidewalk" display base, Scarecrow has one actual accessory: the Talking Tammy doll he was doctoring to dispense Fear Gas when Batman found him in Dark Victory #3. Sadly, neither of the figure's hands are designed to hold the doll. Tammy is detailed nicely, from the button eyes to the slit on the belly where Crane hid his toxin.

The Dark Victory figures come in a red and black window box, with a nice b/w skyline backdrop tray. Heck, it's worth holding onto that backdrop, just to make a simple diorama for any number of characters.

Even if you already have one of the previous DC Direct Scarecrows, this one is still worth picking up - his design is unique, his sculpt stands out, and the greys make a nice change of pace from the browns the others wear. Make sure you have plenty of vertical space to accommodate that hat, but otherwise feel free to get this one, and have the Batman of your choice beat him up.


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