Batman Kings of Fear #1
Writer: Scott Peterson
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Review by Greg Brothers
Over the years there have been quite a few different takes on Batman. Some write him as a Detective, others as a Dark Knight fighting crime in the shadows. As many versions of his personalities exists, there have been just as many if not more ways that he has been drawn. One of the more famous versions was Kelley Jones first run on Batman, where he presented the Dark Knight as a hulking and imposing figure. At the time it was considered a groundbreaking take on Batman. Unfortunately, sometimes the past is better left there.
Batman Kings of Fear #1 starts with a familiar scene as The Joker is hulled up in a warehouse with some henchmen. Batman drops in from above and makes quick work of the group before taking Joker back to Arkham. It is there that Batman meets a Doctor of some sort who decides to complain about how Batman can just bring in villains without having to go through training that others have had to endure. Before the Doctor can continue her verbal assault, The Joker and several more of the Rogues Gallery have already escaped their cells.
I want to start with the fact that I have been loving the Rebirth series Batman and Detective Comics and maybe that skewed my feelings about Batman Kings of Fear #1. King and Tynion have done such a great job expanding the mythos of Batman, so that in many ways Peterson’s work here feels static and a bit stale. Nothing feels as if it is groundbreaking as you read through the panels. That is not to say that the writing is not good, it is just predictable. I never felt as if Batman was in any real danger, and the outcome of the fight with the Rogues Gallery seemed foreshadowed from the beginning. Even the Doctor blaming Batman for the creation of these criminals seemed par for the course.
The real disappointment comes in the art. I have seen Jones version of Batman before this book, so I knew what to generally expect. Unfortunately, there are several panels in which Batman’s body is twisted in ways that are not humanly possible. There is one particular panel in which Batman seems to have a thigh protruding from his chest. The character has evolved past the big brooding muscle bound hero. Unfortunately, Jones’ art has not. Some of the other character designs were decent, but the lack of details and sharp detailed lines leads to some muddled art.
Verdict: Skip it.
Even the most diehard Batman fans are going to have trouble justifying throwing down money for Batman Kings of Fear #1.The story is satisfying yet predictable. And the art is trapped in a style that has long been left behind in favor of a more relatable and realistic version of Batman.