Lair of the Geek

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Batman Arkham City by Paul Dini and Carlos D’anda

By Paul Dini and Carlos D’anda
Review by Nicola Whyman

Titan Books £16.99

Batman Arkham city has been released as a short graphic novel as a prequel to the new video game of the same name. The book sets the scene as Gotham is recovering from the aftermath of the Joker lead riots, which saw the city left in chaos and Arkham asylum destroyed. With the Arkham asylum residents either running amok in the city or captured and imprisoned awaiting news on their future. The new Mayor Quincy Sharp has some tough decisions to make. Mayor Sharp decides to split the city in two with the ordinary law abiding citizens of Gotham on one side, on the other, all of Gotham’s criminal elements and deranged ex residents of Arkham asylum. Thus is born the new Arkham city.

Batman, as you can imagine, has his hands full as he follows, with interest, Mayor Sharp, you quickly realise that all is not as it seems with the new mayor, it becomes clear that someone in the shadows is in control and that they are playing an elaborate game of chess with Batman, using the inhabitants of Arkham and Mayor Sharp as pawns.

As the plot twists and turns, going through the stories of the main super villains such as the Joker and Harley Quinn, who you first see imprisoned having been captured following the riots. You see the Joker at rock bottom realising he has still yet to defeat Batman but after his and Harley’s escape to Arkham city you soon see him back to his old twisted self, setting up a H.Q. at Arkham’s old metal works and hiring some goons.
Also you see the return of Two Face, The Penguin and The Riddler who are all vying for power in the struggle to gain control over Arkham. With Two Face seeing the introduction of the Titan formula, which quite impressively will turn ordinary people into muscle bound maniacs similar to Bane.

Batman is backed as ever by Robin and Alfred helping with advice from the bat cave as he tries to figure out what is going on. It has been a while since I read any Batman graphic novels so I was very impressed with the artwork that has bought the hero’s and super villains screaming and kicking into this century. Batman is very much in the style of the Dark Knight and is somehow a lot darker than I remember. The Joker looks truly menacing even with his thin emaciated frame. Harley Quinn looks set for the fight in her new outfit which sees a departure from the usual harlequin get up, going for instead the biker chick look. The Riddler looks great in his slightly updated suit and bowler hat.

Two face has a great deal of detail making his scars look a lot more disturbing. Poison Ivy looks amazing. She has always been my favourite female villain. The colours are fantastic. In conclusion; I would love to go on and play the game. If it’s even half as good as this graphic novel, it will be money well spent. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this and been amazed at the colour and detail of the art work. Arkham city is defiantly not a place for the faint hearted. The Joker said it best and I quote “Our dear old Arkham asylum was the pits, but Arkham city? Well, now that’s a madhouse of a different colour!”

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