Batman battles his entire Rogues gallery at Arkham Asylum in BATMAN KINGS OF FEAR #1 as Scott Peterson and Kelley Jones kick off their spectacular run with the Dark Knight and some of his most twisted villains. Let’s jump in!
STORY BY: Scott Peterson and Kelley Jones
COLORS: Michelle Madson
LETTERS: Rob Leigh
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Batman Kings of Fear SPOILERS TOO!
Take a look at some of the links from other Batman reviews and articles I’ve written below.
Somehow, the Joker has escaped Arkham and is hiding out in what appears to be an old box factory. After the Joker slices a guy’s throat, Batman jumps in and takes him down. The Caped Crusader ties up the Clown Prince of Comedy, throws him in the Batmobile, and personal checks him back into Arkham Asylum.
While Batman talks with the Doctor at Arkham, Joker frees all of the Caped Crusader’s worst villains, and a fight ensues. The Dark Knight turns out the lights and quickly takes care of Bane, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Joker, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, and Killer Croc. However, Scarecrow manages to escape with some hostages. As Batman goes to chase down Dr. Crane, the Caped Crusader gets sprayed with Scarecrows fear toxin. Who knows what nightmares are in store for our Dark Knight.
Peterson’s Way with Words
Scott Peterson moved this story along quickly, fluently, and effortlessly. Readers may find themselves reading the issue in under 10 minutes flat. To anyone interested in checking this out, it honestly will take no time at all. That said, the issue ironically excels through its dialogue. Peterson knows exactly what to say, how to say it, and doesn’t saturate a page with words. Every word is used well and appears to have a purpose. Additionally, Rob Leigh did an excellent job strategically placing the lettering throughout the pages to make the transitions appear polished.
Furthermore, Peterson slyly implies that the Joker may know that Batman is Bruce Wayne. He says things throughout the issue like ”between the cushions of Bruce Wayne’s couch” or ”mansion of a psyche.” Later, Joker also conjectures that he knows what it’s like to wake up and not know ”who you’ll be that day.” These words very well may just be Peterson showing irony, or maybe it’s something more.
Where do you Stand?
Peterson also gets readers to think about their thoughts on Batman, what he stands for, the Dark Knights purpose, and his effects on the criminals he brings in. The Doctor at Arkham references the fact that Batman can just walk right into the Asylum, but she needed background checks to get in. This was an excellent point.
Furthermore, the Doctor follows it up with a statement many fans have had for years;” maybe you aren’t responsible for the Jokers action… but you have to know you bear more than a little culpability.” These statements are profound arguments that fans, artists, and writers have probably gotten into vicious disagreements over throughout the years and bring up thought-provoking questions that I hope Peterson weighs in on during his run.
I have personally seen individuals get heated over their opinions of the Dark Knight and if he is doing more harm than good for these villains. Heck, after Joker releases almost all of the Batman Rogues and the Caped Crusader beats them all up again, the Arkham Doctor spits out another valid point. She states how Batman continues to prove to these insane villains that violence is legitimate. Peterson is stirring the pot of Batman opinions and beliefs to kick off his story. He’s hitting on touchy topics that will genrate a wide spectrum of opinions. Where do you land on the spectrum?
Kelley Jones Art
I respect the nostalgic and eccentric style of Kelley Jones’ art, but it’s not my personal favorite. Jones draws in a way that has too many shadows with thick dark lines. However, when given the opportunity to draw detailed faces, Jones dazzles fans, especially the close-up panels of Jokers face and eyes.
Also, I feel like Jones forgot to draw the Batmobile on page 11. The panel has a giant car shaped white spot where the Batmobile should be. Now, maybe Jones tried this on purpose to add his artistic flair to the issue. If so, I didn’t get it, but in Jones’ defense, I don’t get a lot of things. Moreover, if readers can overlook Jones’ abnormal style, the last page where it looks like Batman is falling, his legs look twisted and out of proportion. Regardless of style, misproportions and misplaced limbs still shouldn’t happen.
Finally, Jones’ background seemed boxy and cubical with too many sharp and jagged edges. Nothing seemed smooth throughout the issue. Furthermore, Batman’s mask appeared to be flat without a nose and his ears were overextended, which I understand is Jones’ bizarre and peculiar style, but it’s just not for me.
Should you buy this issue and/or add it to your pull list?
BATMAN KINGS OF FEAR is an interesting and unique read while Jones’ art is an acquired taste. If you can get move past Jones’ style, I would give the series a try. Peterson’s dialogue was well written, the story was full of action, and the issue developed intelligent debates. There is potential throughout these pages making this comic worth a test drive. Pick this issue up and add it to your pull list for now, especially if Jones’ style is for you.