Review: Batman: Kings Of Fear #4

“Leggo My Ego”
Writer: Scott Peterson
Artists: Kelley Jones & Michelle Madsen
Review by Steve J. Ray

Suffering from the effects of Scarecrow’s gas, physically and emotionally drained, Batman now finds himself being psycho-analyzed by his enemy. These two figures of fear, men who have weaponized terror, are sitting down and talking. In my opinion this could be the deadliest battle that these two combatants have ever fought.
While it was slow to start, this series is now officially on fire. Veteran writer/editor Scott Peterson and legendary artist Kelley Jones are producing some of the finest work of their careers. I am enjoying this series immensely, particularly issues #3 and #4. The writing is fresh, thought provoking and funny, and the art is 100% quintessential Kelley Jones.

Fear Itself

If you want to see Batman’s past, including his relationship with his own terrors, his inner strength and his origin perfectly rendered in just three pages, BUY THIS BOOK. Pages two, three and four of this issue are a comics masterclass. Two and three are wordless, containing only Mr. Jones’ sublime art. This is a series that will warrant re-reading in the future, I promise.
There are some gorgeous surprises in terms of writing, too. Getting inside Batman’s psyche and witnessing how he’d like to see himself is joyous. I’m rarely surprised by comics anymore, but these pages made me grin from ear to ear. Scott Peterson also made me nod in agreement and understanding at how Gothamites respond to seeing the Bat-Signal lighting up the night sky. I am impressed by the writer’s keen insights.
Once again color artist Michelle Madsen and letterer Rob Leigh have the unenviable task of embellishing the visuals, whilst still letting Mr. Jones’ art sing. They both perform admirably. While there are many pages where Mr. Leigh is almost unemployed, there are also some dialogue heavy segments too. Ms. Madsen is the perfect foil for Kelley Jones, as her colors run hand in hand through the dark streets of Gotham City with the line art.

Conclusion

By the final act we not only see where Scarecrow is leading our hero, but we also get to see behind the curtain of the Dark Knight’s psyche, and that of Gotham City itself. This series continues to impress in the way it remains dark, yet also brings moments of fun, action and intelligence in equal measure.
Two thirds in and I’m still aching for more.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment
(This review was originally published on the Dark Knight News website on November 28th 2018)

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