Batman: Arkham City (Comic) Review

A couple of months ago I decided to review the miniseries crossover where I covered a storyline in the Batman series called Night of the Monster Men and I had some fun going through it and I thought I would give it another shot. This time I’m focusing on another miniseries, since these are easier to get through, which is the tie in between two of the best Batman games that came out in the past decade; Batman Arkham City.

Issue one opens with recapping the end of the Arkham Asylum game where Batman is facing a Titan infected Joker and said Joker narrating about Batman breaking the rules and beating him on his night.arkham-1 He also goes on to talk about on how he knows that the Titan formula did something to him that makes him seem saner than usual. Joker gets wheeled back into his cell and he starts to laugh which then gets cut over to Harley Quinn knowing that he is at least all right with him laughing. But a guard talks to her through the door saying that apparently the Joker doesn’t have that long to live yet. Harley doesn’t believe this and promises that the Joker won’t die in Arkham Asylum.

We then cut over to the WGTV Channel 3 studio where former warden of Arkham Asylum and now Mayor of Gotham City Quincy Sharp where he is in dressing room talking to somebody over a video call since that Sharp appears to have some nerves about the interview he is about to have. The voice tells him to relax and concentrate on his voice and is persuaded into becoming more confident. During the interview Sharp says that he is about to make the streets of Gotham a safer place plus since that The Jokers failed takeover of the Asylum months ago apparently have been sent a message to super criminals that they are no longer tolerated. Jack Ryder asks Sharp if that anyone in a costume is branded as an outlaw and Sharp replies that he is right. Vicki Vale brings up the subject of the Batman and his allies since that they have saved the city on numerous occasions including the Arkham riot and stopped the Joker. She also brought up the fact that Sharp was taken during the riots and apparently he was also unconscious during the attack (even though he was fine when you found him then disappears in the game during a side quest when you return). Sharp starts to stammer but the voice in his ear tells him that he shouldn’t be distracted by the interviewers and retorts back to the interviewers that only fools focus on the past and that he plans on making Gotham crime free. Sharp makes a promise that anyone following in the footsteps of people like the Joker is that they will be caught and spend the rest of their time rotting away inside Arkham Asylum.

In Gordon’s office he calls Sharp an idiot and that Vale was right about Batman being the hero of the Arkham Riot. Batman replies saying that stopping the Joker was all that mattered and Gordon replies to Batman saying that he has had a word from the Asylum doctors and that the Joker will never be a problem again. He then turns his attention to two people that have made their way up the criminal ladder calling themselves T&T, a brother and sister team that somehow got their hands on the Titan enhancement since that some of the barrels got off the Asylum. Thanks to Oracle’s help Batman found out that T&T were working for Two-Face since that they were a duo. He finds Two-Face in one of his old haunts where he wants information from him on where he can find T&T but Two Face wants something for himself and Batman won’t tell Gordon of his location for 30 minutes. Two-Face gives the back story on how the Titan got into their hands and that Two-Face got all of the canisters of Titan that was recovered and game T&T to lock it in the cellar, however they turned the cellar into a training room and started experimenting with the Titan. Two-Face wasn’t aware of what they were doing and didn’t think that they were smart to pull a coup off. T&T then killed off half of his men and he then tells them where they are going to attack, the dedication ceremony at City Hall.

Gordon informs a group of cops that Batman found evidence that T&T are targeting the dedication ceremony and that he wants a tight perimeter around the building. But it turns out that T&T are already there and it turns out the same voice that was taking to Sharp is also talking to the twins. Sharp starts his speech going on about how City Hall rises like a phoenix from the ruins of Gotham and also wants to send a message to criminals that gets cut off by T&T who have used the Titan serum to make them into the monstrosities like what Joker turned into. T&T starts to attack Sharp but Batman manages to make the save and starts his fight with them, now having his boots and gloves coated with explosive foam. Batman manages to get the upper hand against the twins but one of them say that there are losing and that the voice that was talking to them asking if they are prepared for their cause. Batman notices that one of them said chief and noted that they were working with somebody but that wasn’t the bad news. The bad news what that it appeared that T&T had came prepared to die with twin detonators implanted into them. T&T get detonated by the mysterious voice and the new City Hall was destroyed. The end of the issue reveals that three hundred people had died and there was billions in damage. In the following weeks Sharp gathered the remaining council members and declared Gotham a war zone. Sharp then started campaigning for a privatised military force that would follow his orders without question. Batman also deduces that Sharp and T&T have been working with higher power with a bigger plot behind it. Alfred says that he doubts that Sharp has the vision to create Arkham City, a walled off section of Gotham City that would be transformed into an open air prison with Sharps private army to keep the prisoners in order. Batman decides to shift his focus from Sharp to the real mastermind and tries to come up with a plan to stop the higher power.

Issue two opens up with Vicki Vale and Jack Ryder at the groundbreaking ceremony talking about the prison currently in construction and reporting that many citizens call Sharps vision an abomination against human rights. But Ryder contrasts saying that the idea could be Gotham’s last chance. Ryder brings up that with the attack in last issue and residents want a permanent solution for the city’s crime rate. Vicki agrees to this but she believes that there is a better way then turning a portion of the city into a prison, when Sharp cuts into the interview where instead of calling it a prison he preferred the term quarantine zone. Sharp goes on to talk about the prison saying that Arkham City will allow people to degenerate into savagery and that there will also be security patrols, social services and health care, but that’s not all as a voice is seen relaying the speech to Sharp. The idea about Arkham City was that it would also be used as rehabilitation where criminals can be released back into civilisation. Vicki notices Bruce Wayne at the ceremony and asks him his thoughts about the newly constructed prison since he is a senior member on the Arkham Patrol Board. He is taking a wait-and-see approach since that he does think that there need to be steps taken to contain prisoners and he is curious on how decision of criminals being released is done since that the parole board has been suspended. Sharp ignores the question and breaks the ground for the ceremony.

Batman then heads out to the Mayor’s Mansion to find out clues about the higher power and also anything on Arkham City. Batman notices that the staff is armed with weapons and that Sharp doesn’t have an alarm of the skylight. He then finds a file on Sharp noting that he was from a military family and wanted to follow in their footsteps but never excelled. He then finds a file called Enemy X and discovers that the file is about him but then he finds what he wants but then a video appears on the saying that he knew that the plans would be irresistible for him and the video then activates a sentry gun which fires rubber bullets at Batman. The turret then spurts out a gas and then tries to shoot a jolt of electricity at him but Batman uses a batarang and realises that the person was studying his fighting techniques. Batman shuts down the computer and makes a getaway from the mansion where he then informs Alfred that somebody was studying him to gain an advantage but they didn’t see much.

At Arkham Asylum where Aaron Cash is sending an inmate to Arkham City, with both the inmate and Cash not liking the idea of Arkham City but law is law and now is his turn. With this inmate dealt Cash says that he has no problem transferring Joker from his cell to the holding cells in the City. Joker is being wheeled to receiving talking about what he wants to do in Arkham City, like becoming mayor, but Dave the Guard (I don’t know his surname) takes him on a shortcut where a group of guards in masks take him down into the bowels of the Asylum into a weird looking torture chamber with Joker being attached to a bed. Dave and the other guards made a promise that the Joker will suffer for what he had done in the Asylum Riot. Dave give a knife to a masked guard and gives him the order to kill the Joker, but slowly but Dave gets killed by the guard who reveals that it was actually Harley Quinn in disguise. Harley takes out the guards in the room and tells Joker how she got out and manages to get break him out they escape on a boat that Harley acquired. Batman finds out that Joker and Harley had escaped Asylum on his Bat-Jet Ski and blasts the boat telling Joker to surrender. arkham-3Joker fires back at Batman and Batman fires back but when the smoke clears Joker and Harley are no where around but managed to escape and manage to get into the Arkham City being the first two people inside the prison dubbing themselves as the mayor and mayoress of the prison taking office inside the Sionis Steel Mill.

Issue three seems to be set a week or two later since that The Penguin is apparently now a resident of Arkham City. We see a mysterious character making his way into the prison by climbing over a barbwire fence and heads to the Sionis Steel Mill where the Joker is held up and see that the exterior is decorated with clown motif. He goes aboard a joker styled cart that takes him inside the steel mill and to near certain doom but he manages to escape into the clutches of a group of thugs that he easily takes down. The final thug goes down and the guy is faced by the barrel of a gun held by Harley Quinn. Joker is impressed on how he managed to get in and asks for the guy’s name. He says his name is Lester Kurtz and it turns out that he had done time for armed robbery, aggravated assault and grand theft auto. Joker gives him a mask and is then shown to the sleeping quarters where Kurtz deduced that they were going to give him a beat down initiation and then leaves to go and see The Penguin. Penguin, like Joker is looking for men and will pay them just for following orders and there apparently will be a position available since that he found out that one of his own men was selling his secrets to Harley and with photographic evidence. Penguin hits a button and the thug is sent through a trap door and Kurtz asks what is down there and Penguin tells him pray that he doesn’t have to find out. Penguin decides to change his plan of grabbing a shipment of weapons before the armoury since that Joker knows about the raid they had to do that night.

They hit the truck with a modded truck and take the weapons from the shipment and Lutz manages to slip in some sort of grenade just as the Joker’s crew shows up wanting the weapons for themselves. Lutz throws the grenade at the car and apparently the guns get destroyed in the process. Penguin seems pissed with the ending since that he doesn’t have the guns but with security patrol took some of Joker’s crew. Penguin contemplates on sending Lutz down the trapdoor but instead he only pays him half and they will strike on the Joker’s Hideout. The Penguin orders his goons to lock him up for tomorrows strike but he manages to beat the goons and leave with pulling out a bat-claw.

Batman now knows what the game is like in the prison between Penguin and Joker but he still is intrigued about the person behind the controlling Sharp and the Arkham Inmates. He also now has a way getting in and out of the city via a bat boat that goes through the bay. But it then crosses over to a base where see who is behind Arkham City and that is Dr Hugo Strange.

Issue four begins with Batman being chased by Sharp’s security in a helicopter. Strange then talks over Batman’s communicator welcoming him into Arkham City telling him that he has set up a network of security cameras, impressed that he got into the city through the city on a boat and that the security team has spent every day and night counteracting his every moves. The guards overwhelmed Batman but he then gets saved by somebody crashing through in a truck. It turns out to be Catwoman and they escape the guards and Strange gets pissed by this. Batman turns off his communicator and asks Selina why she is here and her reply is that mob bosses are stockpiling their wealth and she wants it. She then explains how she got the truck and it involves finding a hidden weapon cache, saved Poison Ivy and disposed of some of the security force. Batman warns Selina about having allies like Poison Ivy and leaves her without even a thank you.

Back at the steel mill the Joker is talking to a doctor who his crew has kidnapped since that he wants to find a cure from the Titan formula but there hasn’t been any change and it has been destabilising the Jokers vitals. Joker asks if the doctor had isolated the toxin in his blood sample and the doctor reveals the vial to the Joker. He leads the doctor back to the roller carts and sends him off to the exit aka the incinerator. Cutting over to a group of guards getting attacked by Batman who interrogates a guard and he wants to know who was behind it. The guard tells him that it was Sharp but Batman knows that he is just a puppet. Batman demands the real name and the guard tells him that it is actually Hugo Strange that behind the prison.

In the final issue begins with the with the recapping of Hugo Strange being revealed the mastermind behind Arkham City and the person pulling Mayor Sharps strings. Batman returns to the Batcave where we see Robin (Tim Drake) for the first time in the series and we see a completely different design to what we have seen in previous incarnations and in the comic it doesn’t look right since for me since he looks a lot older and bulkier than what he should be. Tim brings up all of the information that he was able to dig up on Strange but Batman thinks that it is now a waste of time since that if Strange was a normal criminal he would be out of the state by now. Batman says that he read about Strange and that he is a ruthless strategist and convinced that he’ll do the last thing anyone suspects. A news bulletin starts up on the computer and it is now revealed to the public from the Sharp that Strange was the mastermind behind Arkham City and arranged a conference introducing Strange to explain the management role in the prison. Batman then decides that it is time for Bruce Wayne to make the next move.

In the mayor’s mansion, Sharp is rather curios on why Strange has decided to come forward. Strange has his own motives to go against Batman but he says that it is Arkham City is nearly ready and the people of Gotham need resurgence. Sharp asks him why he is doing it and Strange replies to he wants Sharp to reassure the public that Arkham City is a safe place and that he will introduce him to the public as the man that he entrusts to carry out his vision.

In the morning Sharp’s conference where he announces that Strange will be in control of day-to-day operations for Arkham City but Bruce Wayne interrupts the conference bringing up reports about Hugo Strange and his record of patient abuse. Bruce gives the information that he had about Strange to Vicki Vale with reports of Strange’s inhumane experiments (which he continues to do even in the current DC Universe). It is also known that four years ago Strange vanished from Arkham Asylum and asks what we can expect from him being the warden since that he disappeared from the Asylum. Strange replies saying that he fled because he was going to be a scapegoat after doctors made fatal mistakes. Strange then makes an observation of Bruce finding it intriguing that a playboy would put together a thorough history of a doctor that he has never met. Strange asks Bruce why he cares about the criminals behind the wall and he replies that he has little faith that the criminals would stay behind the wall. He then goes onto say that instead of creating an alternative mad house and they turned it into a nightmarish netherworld. Sharp tries to intervene saying that this isn’t the time to be discussing. Bruce interrupts when he believes that the walls are going to crumble when madmen blow them down and reign chaos in the streets. Strange finishes up the conference saying that Bruce’s theories are just that and Arkham City is a reality and there is nothing that he can do to prevent it from being open.

Strange then starts to monolog about the different things that are going on around Arkham City with all on full page spreads that pretty much are there just to fill out the comic but the art work is rather good. The first page focuses around Jim Gordon and the GCPD saying that all the can do is watch since they have no control inside the city and the control is by the TYGER guards which are also the name of the security force that was in the previous issues that I believe just got named in this issue. The second and third page were about Victor Zsasz and that Strange had given him a escape map that got him out to be then recaptured by TYGER and the third page showing people watching Zsasz being captured mainly for publicity. The fourth page shows Strange looking at his monitors going on about people either fleeing the city or hunkering down in lairs so that they don’t pose as a threat. In the fifth we see Catwoman stealing some jewellery with TYGER guards looking over the crime scene.arkham-2 The sixth shows Two-Face battling it out with TYGER and in the seventh page features Poison Ivy with Strange talking about people acclimated to their new surroundings. The eighth picture features the Riddler with Strange talking about people repeating their tiresome plots and bizarre reasons. The Ninth page features the Penguin with Strange talking about when everyone has already been taken out in the ground war his troops would take out the survivors. The tenth and eleventh page features Joker in love with all the mayhem that is happening and Batman hanging upside down saying that Batman will find Strange’s real plan. But Strange is looking forward to seeing Batman return to Arkham City and that is the end… for now.

I really do love this miniseries tie in since that it does build up some story lines that happen in the game. I would recommend this for fans of the game plus also the bonus chapters that were available online are really good as well from a story point, but the artwork seems rather okay. I think that I may try and get some more of the tie in series for the videogame series and I may do a review of them in the future.

Overall Rating: 8/10

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