COMIC REVIEW: Batman: Arkham

Batman: Arkham is the companion Titan title to Batman / Superman; if the latter title is here to herald the upcoming Batman vs Superman film, then the former is here to fill the gap left by Christian Bale’s Dark Knight. In this first issue we get three stories:

Arkham Unhinged #1 Inside Job – “Dr Hugo Strange is in control of the Arkham City megaprison, and has every “criminal” in Gotham locked away – except for Catwoman, Two-Face… and Batman! Don’t miss this first instalment from the gritty world of the video game Arkhamverse!” So, to kick off this first issue, Titan have given us a brand new story, linked to the Arkham video game. It’s a good start, as we get an intro to Dr Hugo Strange and his Arkham City build – Gotham’s version of an Escape From New York Manhattan Island. Hugo’s after the Cat and Dent, but Commissioner Gordon warns the Bat that it’s really him he’s after. Dent tries to sell the Cat out, and Batman has to step in, but Hugo may turn out to be a smarter opponent than even Batman imagines – there’s a good twist at the end…

DOWN, DOWN, DOWN – “It’s the penultimate chapter of the definitive Mad Hatter story – and as Jervis Tetch becomes even more detached from reality, not everyone makes it out alive!” The Hatter has never really done it for me – always seems more comical than villanous, more so that the Riddler even. However, in this story, he’s up there with the Joker in the Looney Tunes stakes. Bruce has a new love in his life, one he is even prepared to give up being Batman for – however the Mad Hatter has gone completely off his trolley in a seriously psychotic way. This is a dark story, and the term “definite” may well do it justice.

Shadows and Ghosts – “Harper Row – remember her? – joins Batman on a case that leads all the way back to Detective Comics #0… but will the Dark Knight be willing to accept her help? Illustrated by special guest artist Scot Eaton!” I’d never come across Harper Row, and if there was ever a candidate to be a new Robin, she’s probably it!

All three stories (whatever their entry point) are well-chosen if the objective is to hook you into buying the next issue. Strong story lines showing the Dark Knight under fire, emotionally vulnerable and on top of his game, all with very good artwork (contrast this with Batman / Superman where I felt the artwork on Cross World was weak); a good plethora of villains, and helping hands (Alfred is particularly present in two of the stories, not just as a butler, but as the Batcave manager).

If I had to choose between the titles… I really couldn’t call it…

GS Rating: 4/5

Source: Titan Magazines

GS Reviewer: SilverFox

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