Look, since I wrote Batman: Kings of Fear, I'm not going to say this guy's right about all this...I'm just going to say he makes a highly persuasive case, which has the added benefit of not being wrong at all.
[A] consequence of having so many Batman books flooding the market is that potential readers are not aware of which of those comics are worth investing their time and money. An excess of merchandise by the same brand can lead to some good stories being lost in the mix and that approach is counterproductive.
Let’s take this 2018-2019 miniseries, Kings of Fear, written by Scott Peterson and drawn by Kelley Jones: it flew under the radar while it was published and it has not gained any major hindsight from critics in the last couple of months, which is a shame given that this book provides us with some very fascinating insight on Batman as a character and delivers a conclusion that is actually quite refreshing for those of us that perhaps are not very thrilled with the direction the character over the last few years.
What sets Scott Peterson apart from the rest of the current Batman writers (with a notorious exception being Peter J. Tomasi and his exceptional Detective Comics run) is the fact that he acknowledges these criticisms of Bruce’s war on crime, but he also offers us the chance of viewing the other side of the coin, as if this were a debate of sorts. This results in great scenes like Batman helping a little girl and her showing that his motivation is to prevent kids from going through what he went through, that his villains don’t keep coming back because he creates them or prompts them but rather that they are just insane and a scene with a professional in Arkham that tells him that his husband actually did time in jail and never committed another crime again because he was still terrified of the Batman, becoming a family man and a honest worker.
You also get Gordon’s take on the matter, which seemed like a callback to Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, in my view, and, most importantly, Alfred’s take, which to me defines the whole argument: that Batman might not be the most pleasant solution, but is one that has given a lot of possibilities and help to Gotham as a whole, often hidden beneath Bruce’s obsession to do more and never-ending quest to push himself even further.
This is what I find the most appealing about Kings of Fear: it tackles a topic that has been discussed for years among comic book fans and it delivers an answer that is actually counter-cultural in these modern times, showing Batman as a force that has provided good to the city that he has sworn to protect. All through the Scarecrow’s classic psychedelic lens
In a market that is filled with Batman titles, Kings of Fear is short and yet entertaining book that also offers a major insight into the Dark Knight’s motivation and place as a hero.