ARKHAM MANOR

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

It’s safe to say that most of us know the set-up for a Batman story. The super-rich Bruce Wayne resides in stately Wayne Manor, going out at night to beat-up criminals as the Batman. His special crime hunting lair, the Bat Cave, sits directly below his home, and any criminals Batman catches get exiled to Arkham Asylum, a sinister facility for the criminally insane.


The premise of Arkham Manor is that the asylum has exploded. For poorly explained reasons (which are presumably  expanded on in another book),  Gotham City Hall is easily able to compulsorily purchase Wayne Manor and turn it into a place to store the various villains that usually reside in the asylum. Bruce Wayne does not oppose this, stating that it’s what his father would want. (It also saves on Batmobile petrol costs, I suppose.)

Of course, things are not that easy. Within days of opening for business, a murder happens in Arkham Manor. Batman, of course, turns up to investigate and adopts a ‘cunning’ disguise in order to get to know the inmates better. Rather than getting a tense psychological murder mystery, we simply get a straightforward crime drama; Wayne doesn’t have to wait long until something happens and he’s soon suited up as Batman and crawling around tight corners, hunting down bad guys. It would have been nice to see a bit more of the inmates.

Shawn Crystal’s artwork is appropriately atmospheric. Crystal’s slightly scruffy, more chunky take on Batman lends him a thuggish vibe that suits the piece. It suffers from the somewhat more generic look a lot of DC’s current output enjoys, but some nicely done action scenes make up for this.  Duggan’s dialogue is also unsurprising and though this is a fun story, the potential of the premise is rather wasted.

Arkham Manor is unlikely to join the small number of Batman books considered classics, despite having a really solid idea behind it. Fun, but forgettable.

ARKHAM MANOR / WRITER: GERRY DUGGAN / ARTIST: SHAWN CRYSTAL / RELEASE DATE: JULY 28TH (KINDLE), AUGUST 6TH (PB)
 
 

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