On the eve of her confrontation with Batman, Kate injects herself with the Scarecrow’s fear toxin in order to experience first hand what she put Maggie through.  Maggie, for her part, stays at Kate’s side through the whole nightmarish ordeal, which includes images of Batman, Alice and Director Bones.  Elsewhere, Bette/Hawkfire interrogates a kidnapped DEO agent, in an effort to locate Beth, Kate’s sister, a.k.a. Alice, while Cameron Chase sets a pack of Bat villains loose on the streets of Gotham, in order to flush Batman out.

Artist Trevor McCarthy really steps up his game this issue, going way over-the-top on the two-page nightmare sequences as well as contrasting those with the static alternate scenes featuring Hawkfire.  He was solid on this book from the beginning, but he’s visibly working to get even better and that growth is exciting to see.

Overall, it’s a pretty well-written issue, with a lot of nice build up.  It was a little strange that Kate would choose this time to dose herself with fear serum at this time, as she prepares for a battle, but the discussion afterward is strong and helps solidify her relationship with Maggie.  It’s one of the best dialogues I’ve read in a while.

Hawkfire also seems to be growing into her role as costumed adventurer, after starting out as the ditzy Flamebird.  Her mentor, her uncle Jacob, tends to question her every move and challenges her every step of the way, but she’s showing increased maturity and confidence.

This series displays rare maturity and maintains its own voice.  I’ve actually discussed it with other fans, but for whatever reason, a lot of readers don’t care for it.  I think it’s, at its worst, very solid and at times sublime!  This issue falls closer to that description.  I can’t say it’s perfect, but it’s very, very good and the art is improving… and it was already good to begin with!



Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art by Trevor McCarthy
Cover by J.H. Williams III