Ah, another new comics week, another new Batman family #1!
Don’t get me wrong – as a long-time Bat-fan, I love all the new titles coming out in the Bat-universe.
My only fear remains, what happens should the Bat-bubble burst?
Hopefully, that won’t happen for some time to come because there’s at least one or two more books coming out soon!
Previously in ARKHAM MANOR: “When catastrophe strikes Arkham Asylum, where will Gotham City house the world’s most dangerous criminals, and when inmates are found murdered, what is Batman prepared to do in search of justice? Arkham’s madness comes home in Arkham Manor, a bold new series brought to you by the mad minds of Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, Nova) and Shawn Crystal (Deadpool, Wolverine and the X-Men).
A DARKER BAT-BOOK
With the new take on Batgirl and the teen title Gotham Academy getting many positive reviews across the Internet, I worried that the “dark” in Dark Knight was going to be watered down quite a bit. After all, decades of bringing Batman into the darkest corners of his mind and Gotham City, I wondered if that trend was wearing out.
What I particularly enjoy about this concept is that Bruce Wayne/Batman continues to give up pieces of himself to Gotham in order to maintain order. With this comic, he turns over his home after a tremendous need for a place to keep the worst of the baddies when they’re captured.
We see Bruce grieve at the loss of the mansion he grew up in, but he still sees the importance of making “his” city as safe as possible. So Wayne Manor becomes Arkham Manor.
Not long after the transfer has happened, not one but two murders take place there.
Now, you know Batman’s not going to let that go unresolved!
SCRIPTING THAT MOVES ALONG AT A GOOD PACE, WITH A LOT OF MYSTERY
It’s already Arkham Manor in the very first panel we read of this issue, and things only go downhill from there!
Duggan does an excellent job of balancing character and drama as he follows Bruce’s dealing with the loss of his family’s home, then beginning the mystery that will clearly keep this title busy for at least several months to come.
I always like it when Batman is solving mysteries because I think detective is one of his very best roles. Duggan sets up quite a darker tale, one I think will balance the lighter ones DC has already released.
A CRAGGIER ART TO GO WITH THE STORY
Batman visually moves all over the place these days, to the huge pointy ears he sometimes sports to the smaller, Adam West-like ones he used to wear a lot more often.
What stood out to me about this book was that Batman has a much larger jaw than I’m used to seeing. It’s okay, but it didn’t fit what I hoped to see.
Does that mean it was bad? Not really, but let’s just say that I hope they move away from it moving forward.
I also liked the darker color palates that made things grimier and slimier than many of the other Bat-titles. I expect that the upcoming Gotham by Midnight book will be close to this style of coloring. This, I like!
BOTTOM LINE: ‘Arkham Manor’ Looks at Batman’s Villains Up Close and Personal
Look, despite my quibbles about Batman’s chin, I did enjoy this title. The potential to see Batman’s home violated by the worst of Gotham’s underworld appeals to me a lot.
Not only that, I’ve been reading where the Bat-creators have been seriously intending to shake up the Dark Knight’s universe, and doing this to his lifetime home really does feel like they’re keeping their word about this! And it upsets the Arkham Asylum videogame apple cart quite a bit!
And hey, it is a number one issue of a brand new, never seen before Batman comic! Who could resist that? Will the story and the art keep people around? I hope so, but we’ll need to keep an eye on this comic each month!