Batman: Kings of Fear by Scott Peterson (Author), Kelley Jones (Illustrator, Artist)

It’s a setup… as it usually is with The Joker. The Caped Crusader captures him just to return The Clown Prince to Arkham Asylum in the midst of a breakout. Bane, Ivy, Penguin, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, and Croc… an epic fight ensues. It is ended when The Scarecrow releases his psycho-gas in Batman’s face. What follows is the nightmare therapy session it seems The Scarecrow has been waiting his whole life for.

Batman: Kings of Fear is a series of 6 mini-issues focusing on The Dark Knight’s innermost fears and motivations… An almost Catcher in the Rye mission split with several references to A Christmas Carol: The Scarecrow takes Batman on a tour through what has happened and what might have been.

First off, I was blown away by the artwork in this one. Beautiful and shocking. Batman’s head is ripped open and out comes the most secret parts of the man’s psyche. There are framable full-page works of art in this comic… The Scarecrow’s facial expressions are explored like no other. I’ve usually seen him drawn as a shapeless burlap sack, but this story so encapsulates his character that the art needs to reflect that. And it certainly does.

And then the story… it’s a simple premise, but things get complicated when Batman has to reflect upon his life as a crime fighter. The dialogue hums nicely as does the flow from issue to issue. (I always worry about that when reading these types of mini-comics.)

A seriously fun ride that may be a bit deeper view of Scarecrow and Batman than I’ve ever seen. One I’ll be recommending to many.

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