Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Bryan Hitch
Published by DC Comics
The penultimate chapter of Warren Ellis’ Batman mini-series brings out the Scorn Army’s full arsenal, led by Scorn. Their war on Gotham’s criminal justice system focuses their attack on ground zero, GCPD Headquarters.
Batman discovered Scorn’s identity in the previous issue.
Scorn is an evil version of Batman. During their well-illustrated fight, the dialog was the typical “I know you” followed by the angry “No you don’t” retort. Batman puts his dukes up as a way of saying it’s all he’s going to use. Scorn is happy to hear that because he wastes no time trying to stab him.
The majority of the book is spent with a recovering Batman, asking Alfred how he can defeat someone who is just like him, without killing him.
Batman gets inside the head of his adversary, trying to search for one last glimmer of hope. It’s a friendly narrative device that shows Batman working out various cases at the crime scene by putting himself in the shoes of the victim. It was jarring to see it return after being absent for several issues.
Still, it was a decent way to convey to the reader that Batman considers Scorn a victim since their parents’ death put them on similar paths.
We close with Batman leveling up his armor for his climactic encounter with Scorn as a concerned Alfred looks on.
The series’ emotional epicenter is Alfred trying to convince Bruce to retire the cape and cowl before someone puts him in an early grave. It’s a good idea that Ellis executes well enough, but it’s indicative of this series as a whole.
A lot is going on, but the result produces next to nothing. Bryan Hitch’s artwork is outstanding, but it’s hard to appreciate the entire body of work when one aspect is firing on all cylinders while the other is, well, not so much.
Hopefully, next month’s final installment will bring it all home for a worthwhile read.