Series – Arkham Manor
Writer – Gerry Duggan
Artwork – Shawn Crystal & Dave McCaig
Publisher – DC Comics
Summary from Comixology – “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?”
I loved Batman as a kid, but kind of fell out of regularly reading Batman comics. Thanks to my good pals, and fellow 4LN writers, Bill and Cam, I recently caught up on Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s New 52 Batman and I love it. It re-energized my love of the Dark Knight for sure. Now, we see the release of Arkham Manor, written by Gerry Duggan, whose work I already love and appreciate (If you haven’t read The Infinite Horizon you need pick that up NOW). I picked up this book for those reasons; I love Batman again, and I love Gerry Duggan (in a *mostly* non-creepy way). I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have avoided most of the previews and sneak peeks so that it would feel fresh when I read it. This proved to be a smart move on my part.
The whole book was a high. The plot develops really well and never weakens. I kept wondering, page to page, what it was all leading to, and the ending totally took me by surprise. The unpredictable nature of the story is something that I really appreciate because it’s rare in comics today. You either figure out the ending too easily, or there’s no surprise to figure out at all because the point of the book is to tell a story and develop characters. I feel like Arkham Manor is going to be the perfect balance of that as it continues.
The artwork here is really interesting. I liked it a lot because I can’t think of anything to compare it to. Shawn Crystal has done some work on Deadpool before, but this feels different from that. It feels like something new. There’s a classic pulp-comic quality to it, but it’s still very abstract and modern. I very much enjoyed it.
I can’t think of an low points in this issue. It really was very solid. I will warn you however, that even though there is a rouges gallery of villains on the cover, they are not present in this issue. I feel like some people might see that and then be disappointed after they read the issue, having hoped for at least one or two of Batman’s enemies to have popped up. I’m not calling that a low, I’m just saying that people need to be aware of this so that they don’t expect something that isn’t there. Nonetheless, that’s still a great looking cover, right?
The Final Say –
Here at 4LN we’re moving to a new 5 star rating system, from our original 4 star system. This will be the first issue to receive a 4 out of 5 stars. Arkham Manor is a really great first issue. And first issues can be tough because they have to achieve a lot in a short amount of space. It’s not legendary, but it’s really good and I think any Batman fan will enjoy it. Hell, even if you’re not a Batman fan, you can certainly appreciate the quality of storytelling and artwork that went into making this book. The only other DC book on my comic pull-box list has been Harley Quinn, but now I’d say there’s a really good chance Arkham Manor is going on there right next to it. Head down to your local comic shop before they close today and grab a copy!