The Dark Knight #4 is credited with Paul Jenkins as writer and co-plotter, with David Finch as penciller/co-plotter.
The issue opens with Batman finally entering Poison Ivy's lair, only to be attacked by her many plants. While there, Alfred is in communication with him, informing him that Wonder Woman returned his call and let him know the Justice League has their hands full taking care of the Arkham inmates who escaped on his watch. His inner monologue tells the reader he knows Ivy isn't the one behind all of this, it's someone who needed her help to perfect their toxin. Hm. Wonder who that could be? He finds a note from Poison Ivy, written in a foreign language.
We then switch to Jim Gordon's apartment, where he is leaving a message for Bruce Wayne, telling him that Forbes, the detective from previous issues who is investigating Gordon and Wayne for… something. Gordon brings in the Dollmaker plot point, just to make sure we all know this story is in continuity.
Back at the cave, Alfred hands Bruce some ice cream, telling him it will help him relax. The coded message leads Bruce to discover her chloro-pheromone is radiating from a swampland owned by the government. He runs some safety checks on the Batplane before he departs. Alfred offers to accompany him, joking about aging sidekicks and hoping that he could woo the White Rabbit. As the Batplane takes off, White Rabbit, hiding in some foliage, spots him and shoots him with her finger.
Batman's inner monologue continues with the fear theme, and goes through the various characters he's letting down. There's The Flash, Jaina, Alfred, and finally Gordon. In the plane, he finds a small vial of some green liquid and as he's ordering his system to analyze it, someone breaks through his plane.
The intruder is none other than Deathstroke, apparently also under the effect of the toxin that hit Joker and Two-Face. Deathstroke fights Batman until Batman jumps from the plane while Deathstroke calls him a coward. Even though he's a few thousand feet in the air, he manages to save himself using a grappling hook.
Batman makes his way through the woods that are supposed to be swampland, all the way to a tiny cabin, where we finally see the villain, Scarecrow.
Overall, I consider this to be a very weak issue. The writing feels completely off to me. Batman's inner monologue felt very wordy, and Gordon's voice, even though he's half in the bag, didn't feel as polished as Gordon's voice normally does. And Alfred, poor abused Alfred. He was stuck with some of the most awkward dialogue in the book.
Finch's rendition of Scarecrow at the end was nice, but the layout of the pages beforehand is a very jarring and doesn't flow as nicely as I would've liked.
I was really disappointed in this book, because I really did hope the writing was going to pick up within the new 52. I sincerely hope this book is either dropped or re-tooled before Jaina manages to turn into another Dawn Golden.
Batman: The Dark Knight #4:
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman