“Eye of The Beholder”
Artists: Kelley Jones & Michelle Madsen
Be afraid, be very afraid. We left the last issue of Batman: Kings Of Fear with Batman under attack and fully in the grip of The Scarecrow’s fear gas. This a toxin the comics fans know is both silent, and deadly… sorry. Both the Dark Knight and his adversary use fear as a weapon, but which of these figures of terror will emerge as the true King Of Fear? Issue two takes us a step closer to the answer.
I really enjoyed the first chapter of this story, but this second issue really pushes the action forward and steps into high gear. Scott Peterson once again proves that he’s a writer that can craft a tale, yet lets the artist play to his strengths. Just like last month there are sections of this book that are completely wordless, where the art tells the whole story. Kelley Jones is one of the foremost artists in the industry when it comes to silent, atmospheric comics pages.
Kings Of Fear, Titans Of Terror
It’s always great to see the power of Batman’s mind. Over the decades I’ve seen Scarecrow’s fear gas reduce even the strongest men to quivering wrecks. The best part is that we know The Dark Knight has been affected, but are in awe of his fortitude and they way he fights back. The opening pages of the issue where our hero re-lives the terrors he’s experienced over his career as Batman are terrific. The panel showing Bane breaking Batman’s back is particularly poignant, as it’s a recreation of the cover from Batman #497 (1993) which was drawn by… Kelley Jones.
Colorist Michelle Madsen continues to help Mr. Jones’ art shine in this issue. Her palette is subtle and helps heighten tension and darken shadows. This is story that wouldn’t benefit from effects heavy, super bright colors. Madsen’s more organic, earthy hues work brilliantly. As always Rob Leigh’s lettering is perfect. I do feel for him if he’s paid by the page, as there are so many that contain no dialogue at all. The lettered pages, however, are crisp, clear and gorgeous.
Even with Jim Gordon and Alfred helping Batman, readers are left in no doubt that our hero is in trouble. Writing and art tell the tale brilliantly, but I’m still waiting for the pay-off. Will this story add a new dynamic to the Batman/Scarecrow relationship, or will this be just another re-telling of the same old story? I guess only time will tell.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment