Batman, Scarface:
A Psychodrama

by Alan Grant,
Charlie Adlard
(DC Comics, 2001)

Scarface has always been, in my estimation, one of the sillier of Batman's "serious" adversaries. Sure, he's a ruthless killer and mob boss. But he's also a block of wood.

In Scarface: A Psychodrama, writer Alan Grant examines the tortured mind of the man behind the mannequin, Arnold Wesker, a.k.a. the Ventriloquist. Seemingly mild-mannered and adverse to violence, Wesker is the hand holding Scarface, the voice giving the orders and, one must suppose, the merciless brains behind the operation. After all, who could believe Wesker's claims that Scarface himself is the one in control?

The story removes Scarface from Wesker, but the lifeless hunk of gallows wood seems to have a mind and goal of its own. Escaping destruction and leaving death in its wake, it circles around to find Wesker, who is trying to make a clean start as an entertainer. Or is he?

Scarface is an interesting look at the villainous team, a story in which Batman is more satellite than star. It certainly raises the question of who's the dummy in the partnership.

by Tom Knapp
25 November 2006

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