Batman: Arkham City (Issue #1 of 5) (DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Batman: Arkham City (Issue #1 of 5)


Written by Paul Dini; Art and cover by Carlos D'Anda; Colors by Gabe Eltaeb; Letters by Travis Lanham

May 13, 2011 DC Comics Bookmark and Share

“I still see the tableau in my mind’s eye, the way I dreamed it would end. Batman, one fist raised in a last pathetic act of defiance, a brave oath dying on his lips as I crushed the life out of him. And above it all, my laughter rising over the crack of his bones.”

Joker’s twisted (and weirdly eloquent) thoughts open DC Comics’ Batman: Arkham City five-issue miniseries. The series aims to connect the hit 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum and its highly anticipated follow-up, Batman: Arkham City. Veteran scribe Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series), who penned both video games, does an adequate job of tightening the dangling story threads from Arkham Asylum‘s foreboding conclusion like he’s wielding an ultra batclaw. (Even when Dini is mediocre he’s quite good in comparison to other writers.)

This OK issue finds Gotham City’s populace trying to return to a state of normalcy one year after Joker’s goons ran amok on Arkham Island. The narrative largely deals with setting up an overarching through-line and sometimes gets bogged down in that regard. For instance, the lazy ending could have been handled differently. Dini really starts to cook once he shows how and why former-Arkham Warden/newly-elected Mayor Quincy Sharp plans to the build Arkham City. The Joker, Harley Quinn, and Two-Face make cameos, but they’re in bad physical and/or mental states.

Instead, Bats’ main foes are some Titan-enhanced twins (Terry & Tracy Trask) that go by the explosive name “T&T.” They’re throwaway, ‘90s-esque baddies that end up being mere pawns in the hands of The Dark Knight’s real antagonist: the mastermind behind Arkham City. (Hint: He knows Bruce Wayne is Batman.) The lighting and textural detail that is packed into this issue should be applauded. Check out Carlos D’Anda’s cover for further proof. (The limited alternate is above.) D’Anda is the concept artist for the highly successsful Arkham games. I’d like to see him work with DC more in the future. He captures the cinematic moods of Batman’s universe quite well, and Gabe Eltaeb (Green Lantern, GL Corps) adds wonderful spashes of color to his linework. This doesn’t look and feel like a total publicity cash grab.

The miniseries’ second issue will be available on June 8, and #3 streets rather quickly on June 28. Between each issue, DC will also put out eight-page digital interludes (99 cents) highlighting different villains from Batman’s infamous Rogues Gallery. The interludes will be available via, the ComiXology App, and the PlayStation Store. It’s good that this team will continue through the series because they’re off to a promising start. ( /

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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