The epic conclusion is finally here! Batman must overcome his greatest fears in order to defeat the Scarecrow and save his one true love: Gotham City. Will the Caped Crusader be able to conquer his insecurities or will he fall victim to Scarecrow’s mental manipulation?
“What’s your greatest fear?”
Batman: Kings of Fear #6 is easily the best entry in the entire mini-series. It isn’t due to some elaborate scheme threatening to sink Gotham City into the abyss, or an epic battle of fisticuffs featuring an array of mind-blowing bat-gadgetry. In fact, the conflict with Scarecrow is wrapped up quickly in the first few pages. Rather, it is because of the personal stakes this conflict represents for Batman. In fact, Scott Peterson’s resolution to this personal conflict shows us effects of the Dark Knight’s crime fighting that are rarely explored.
Playing on Batman’s fear that he is doing more harm than good to his city may not be entirely original, however this does not make it uninteresting. In previous issues, the alternative positive realities for Batman’s Rogues Gallery were certainly entertaining. However, I found the narrative Scott Peterson has constructed to disprove this fear more interesting.
It is so easy to get caught up in the grandiose schemes that we often forget Batman’s effect on the common criminal. It’s in these moments that not only Batman: Kings of Fear #6, but the entire miniseries as a whole, thrives. Certainly the pep talks from Commissioner Gordon and Alfred help to convince the reader that Batman is making Gotham City a better place. However, the testimonial given by the wife of an ex-criminal is one of the most powerful moments of the issue. It solidifies that Batman, and the reader, is not just being told what we want to hear, but that he is truly making a difference. Seeing the positive change that was made in the life of a criminal because of Batman’s actions is so unique and refreshing. This is because we are mostly privy to the Dark Knight’s interactions with villains who will never abandon the criminal lifestyle.
“It was… well… a dark night.”
Kelley Jones’ art is truly outstanding. The opening pages from the issue are some of my favorite from the entire mini-series. Using Scarecrow’s panicked dialogue as the backdrop for the grapple between the two enemies expertly conveys the villains fear. It perfectly evokes the emotions that Batman is experiencing as Scarecrow’s pleas is muffled by the action.
“I ended up hurting the thing I love most.”
The dialogue heavy nature of this issue does little to alleviate the slow pace that we have experienced throughout the entire mini-series. The one thing that sets this issue apart from the others is the exploration of Batman’s effect on Gotham City’s common criminals. This presents the reader with a fresh, interesting perspective.
Ultimately, Batman: Kings of Fear #6 is a fitting end for the mini-series. The slow nature of the plot will benefit greatly when read in a collected form. Scott Peterson’s character work with the Dark Knight is exemplary as he delves into the character’s fears. Additionally, Kelley Jones’ artwork is enough of a reason to pick up the issue.