This is 500 words about a Batman episode. This is the BATMAN 500.
“Fear of Victory” is a nice rebuttal to anyone who thinks that, somehow, the presence of Robin unmans Batman. I remember Christian Bale saying that if Robin showed up in a new Batman film, he’d refuse to go to work, which is the most They’re-Called-Graphic-Novels-And-Not-Comics-And-I’m-Definitely-The-Best-Writer-In-My-Narrative-Non-Fiction-Class-Also-Have-You-Ever-Smoked-Weed thing that Christian Bale has ever said. I can totally see how some want Batman to remain solo, and that’s fine. I think some Batman stories work better when he’s on his own. But Robin isn’t a character that comic/cartoon writers insert into stories when they decide that the stories are just too good, and need to be worse. The Batman in “Fear of Victory” is still scaring the shit out of bad guys. He’s still Batman, even with Robin around. Get over yourselves, Robin haters. The high school senior girl that broke up with you while you were a freshman in college did so for a reason. It’s time to move on.
“Speaking of college!” Daniel said, moving onto the next paragraph, “Fear of Victory” shows us that Dick Grayson is currently at a university, which explains his absence over the last twenty or so episodes. He’s shown up once before in “Christmas With The Joker,” but the fact that he has to worry about exams is pretty good reason for not being around Batman 24/7. You try to bust out a 15-page essay about the ethics of business practices in Reconstruction era America, all while maintaining your status as the Boy Wonder. It’s nearly impossible. But Dick Grayson is in college, and his roommate, a star football player, suddenly starts seeing the other team morph into hideous monsters while he’s playing a game. All across Gotham, athletes are reacting to their opponents with terror. Who could be behind this? None other than the gangly, jock-hating, college-hating doctor of fear, the Scarecrow.
The Scarecrow has gotten an updated look since he was piloting blimps in “Nothing To Fear,” and I know that it’s supposed to make him more inherently scary-looking, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s about eighty pounds. Also, in this episode, with the exception of two guys that fight Batman and Robin at the end of the first act, he goes totally henchmen-less. So, in the climax, where Scarecrow is threatening to drop a vial of his fear toxin on an entire stadium’s worth of people, he’s got no one there to back him up. No one there to take the punches to the head that would most certainly send his skull into the rafters of the arena. I guess that’s why his two main tactics are swinging something really heavy, and trying to land on Batman from a high place, and why Batman’s main tactics with him are gently tossing him, and then nudging him away. Anything else would shatter Scarecrow’s whole rib cage.
“Fear of Victory” is a great episode. Scarecrow doesn’t show up a lot after this first volume, but they did a solid job with him.