Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth Review
Long before the video game, there was the Arkham Asylum graphic novel. They share the same location and general premise, though they differ in execution quite a bit. The video game is an action-packed slug-fest while the book is more of a psychological thriller. As Batman enters the asylum to Widely renown as a classic, this one sure does deliver a unique visual and reading experience unlike anything I’ve read before.
The inmates have taken over the asylum and they specifically call out Batman to come and play. Of course, he obliges with the intent of stopping these villains yet again. Where things differ is in the way in which Amadeus Arkham’s origin story is told in parallel with Batman’s crappy night. Over the course of the book, both threads escalate and tie together at the right point to make for a satisfying apex. Many of your favourite villains appear here as well with some story-specific deviations to make them even darker and despicable than they already are.
Each page is painted to make for a striking look that plays extremely well into the book’s dark psychological themes. It almost looks as if you’re viewing a dream sequence. For the most part, I love how far the art goes to convey the themes brought up by the writing. My only gripe is the lettering that is used each time the Joker speaks. The small red text behind the white blotches is obnoxious to the point where it’s hard to read in most cases.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is certainly different, but also pretty good. I appreciate how far Grant Morrison and Dave McKean went to great lengths to bring their haunting vision to life. This may be a bit too dark or high concept for some, though this fits the bill if you’re looking for a unique take on The Dark Knight.