Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Batman: Arkham Unhinged: Vol. 1 (2013)

Author: Derek Fridolfs | Artists: Various | Page Count: 160

"There's always a reason to send in the clowns."

A collection of stories of differing lengths that are connected to events in the Batman: Arkham City (2011) video game. I didn't much like the game, but it's Batman in comic form so I read it. It's okay. It's better than expected.

Both the game and comic exist in their own kind of Elseworlds universe, so any changes to character design or attributes from the norm should be overlooked.

In this version of Gotham the old part of the city, Old Gotham, has been sealed-off and now houses the inmates from Arkham Asylum and Blackgate. The area is a large prison but the freedom given to the inmates makes it also a playground for crime, similar to how Manhattan was in John Carpenter's Escape from N.Y (1981). The area is overseen by Hugo Strange, Operations Manager. Batman mistrusts Strange, so he enters Old Gotham to sniff out the professor's true agenda.

Batman is the moody, broody kind. He kicks some ass and then returns to a nearby rooftop to converse with Gordon and comment on the themes and concerns that weren't able to be fully explored during the action scenes.

The familiar locations are there and the characters are plentiful, but putting heroes in a building that features in a game doesn't enrich the story all that much. What's more interesting are the alliances and disagreements that the villains, who will eventually each control their own little area of the game-world, engage in.

For the most part the art is as good as the other half a dozen (or more) regular Batman monthlies, which was a welcome surprise.

The book collects together Batman: Arkham Unhinged issues 1–5.

2½ double-crosses out of 5

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