COMIC REVIEW: Batman: Arkham City

Arkham City - Collected Edition Cover

Writer: Paul Dini, Derek Fridolfs
Pencils: Carlos D’Anda, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, Ben Herrera, Ted Naifeh, Roger Robinson, Adam Archer
Colours:Gabe Eltaeb, Randy Mayor
Letters:Travis Lanham
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £16.99 (Hardback)

From the Cover:

An all-new epic bridging the gap between the hit game BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM and its exciting, upcoming sequel BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY. Paul Dini is the games writer and now tells this essential story that both gamers and Batman fans will want to read. Artist Carlos DAnda provided visual concepts for the game and now brings his insiders expertise to this dark thriller.

A prequel to the awesome game that shares it’s name, this collection gathers together the five issue mini-series together with the web-strips which took a look at some of the supporting characters’ entry into Arkham City. Writer Paul Dini is a veteran of the Batman mythos and as head writer of both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City is the ideal person to create this bridge between the two. Dini presents the game’s villain Hugo Strange as a behind the scenes force throughout this collection and it’s good to see Batman in investigatory mode, trying to determine who the puppet master behind recent events is.

As a tie-in to the game, the mini series and it’s companion stories manage to juggle a large cast of characters without seeming forced in any way. This was a strength of both games, but it’s a tribute to Dini’s writing that the various Bat-villains and their stories – their coming to Arkham city – manage to be a part of the narrative without detracting from the main thrust of the story, the building of the City and the “mystery” (to Batman) of who is behind the scheme itself.

Carlos D’anda’s art is stunning throughout, enhanced by Gabe Eltaeb’s vibrant yet moody colours. There is a great level of detail within each panel and the Batman of the comic is recognisably that of the game for the most part. The art in the web-stories is also consistently good and although each is drawn by a different artist, there is no sense of “style-disparity” that may have made the stories seem to jar when presented together in one place.

The volume is hardbound, which personally I like to see as it adds durability to my comic collection and the quality of the paper and the printing is superb. As a bonus, the book contains fifteen pages of concept art – both for the series presented and the Arkham City game.

If you are a fan of the Arkham games but haven’t delved into the world of comics, this is an excellent starting point as there is no sense of the unknown about the characters and situations presented, which can often be a barrier to reading Batman comics for the first time. If you’re a fan of Batman comics, then this is a solid tale. Whilst not obviously part of standard continuity, the story is interesting and well worth a read. In short – an excellent collection and one which is well worth the purchase.

Rate It: 4
Dry Slaps: 0
GS Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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