Man-Size (man_size) wrote,

Retcon Punch reviews The Fox #4

"I never really played video games growing up, but enough of my friends did that I know exactly how terrifying Arkham Asylum‘s Scarecrow battle scene is. The tense “don’t get caught” objective of that scene is similar to a lot of the other beats in that game (even as it mostly turns into a largely 2D platformer), so the real terror comes from knowing that the whole thing is a hallucination — whatever is actually happening to Batman is entirely unknown to us. Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid mine that same terror in The Fox 4, an issue that owes a great deal to Arkham Asylum.

It makes sense: the villain of this issue is clearly modeled after Scarecrow, albeit with decidedly less spooky branding. He’s the Gasser, as he has to keep reminding the Fox, to which the Fox can only quip about having the worst rogues gallery. It’s a clever piece of self-awareness that carries over to the art, where the Gasser lords over an Escher-inspired dreamscape. Indeed, the Gasser’s seeming ineptitude only heightens the horror later on, as Paul confronts his own mortality, and, more importantly, that of his son. That emotional rawness is absolutely necessary to carry us though to the conclusion, which not only puts Shinji in immediate harm, but also finds Paul accepting Shinji’s decision to fight crime in the first place. Those are some huge changes, but this issue more than earns it."

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