Written by Scott Peterson
Pencils and Inks by Kelley Jones
Colored by Michelle Madsen
In this first issue of the new six part mini series Batman Kings of Fear, we take a trip back in time to the memorable artwork of Kelley Jones, which as soon as you look at the panels, you’ll feel like you’ve jumped into the pages of a classic 1980’s,1990’s Batman story that also feels fresh and new with colors that really pop out at you in full effect.
Seeing Batman wearing the grey tights with the yellow and black logo, blue cape and cowl with the high pointy ears, puts a smile on my face as it’s always a fun and welcomed treat in my eyes because it reminds me of the Batman I knew as a young kid, a simpler time, long before there was a Bat/Cat wedding or a rebirth and journey through a dark multiverse. For many people this is the Batman of their generation, so it’s nice to see DC Comics give us a brand new version of this time honored art style of the caped crusader and several of his most menacing rogues gallery members.
The Joker we get in this book is loud and maniacal, his twisted smile, the look of pure madness and rage in his eyes, the evil grin on his face as he spills fresh blood, his willingness to do whatever dark deed it takes to draw Batman out of the dark, just so the two can continue their endless back and forth dance.
I enjoyed the ride back to Arkham Asylum in the Batmobile as the Joker tried his hardest to pry into the thoughts and state of mind of the dark knight, and in typical Joker fashion he attempts to convince Batman how alike the two men are, while also making verbal jabs to get under Batman’s skin. The artwork in the car ride scene also features one of the best broodiest looking Batman i’ve seen in some time, and I’m normally the guy second in line behind Batman atop the roof of the brooding building that overlooks Gotham City, so trust me when I tell you how very brooding Batman looked here. The use of shadowing throughout the artwork does a great job to add detail to the characters and their facial expressions and also helped set a dark tone and feel to the story.
My favorite part of this issue is the way batman is quick and precise with his actions during his encounter with a group of his rogue’s gallery, you can tell this is a Batman at the top of his game, who is more than capable of handling himself in a fight even when the numbers aren’t in his favor. The best part of this clash was when a single match lights the room enough to see Batman looking down as the face of fear, and the scared and panicked reaction of Gotham’s kings of crime.
When I first saw the picture in this issue of Batman looking down from the shadows while he’s lit up by the matches light, I couldn’t help but notice how much he looks like Batman from Kelley Jone’s previous work during the Batman and Dracula elseworld stories from the 90’s, and I thought that was pretty cool, whether intended or not.
Ultimately I feel like Batman Kings of Fear is a great throwback style book that will give younger or newer readers a brief taste of what Batman stories were during the 80’s and 90’s, as well as offering older and longtime readers a chance to jump back into the storytelling and artistic styling of the type of comics they grew up reading themselves.
I give Batman Kings of Fear a 7 out of 10
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