Ten Nights of the Beast is the original KGBeast story. The cover grabbed me.
The Beast! What a great name. What a great enemy. A renegade Soviet terrorist who could go toe-to-toe with Batman. The story? Brutal. The Beast walks in, part 4/4 of the miniseries, and he's already lost a hand. The Beast's target is Ronald Reagan, who was at the time President of the United States and had already survived one attempted assassination. This was intense, realistic stuff and I was scared for Batman.
Jim Aparo's art is controlled, focused, and meticulously executed - just like his Batman. Jim Starlin's memorable script conveys a gravitas which fits the high stakes perfectly. Here, a CIA agent delicately asks whether Batman's oath never to kill might, under these circumstances, be counterproductive.
The Beast and Batman's mano-a-mano ultimately leads to the sewers beneath Gotham. It is a close match, the ultimate confrontation between capitalist hero and communist villain. Mutual destruction is practically assured... when suddenly, Batman reveals an unexpected resolution.
The Beast is a serious villain, and this Batman is serious enough to lock him in a cul-de-sac. It's a fantastic ending, leaving the reader as stunned as the Beast. Note the parallel between this scene and Batman's confrontations with the Mutant Leader in The Dark Knight Returns. In both cases, Batman must choose between "testing himself like a young man" and using his intelligence to gain an unfair advantage.
Batman has vowed never to kill, and technically he's still within his rights. But he does not tell the CIA agent that he's locked the KGBeast in a cul-de-sac without food or water. Sometimes you have to ignore the rules... I'm not in this business to protect the rules. I serve justice. On the limo ride home, there's not a lot of room for humor.