Batman Arkham City #1 Review (Comic)

Title: Batman Arkham City #1
Publisher: DC
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Carlos D’anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Release Date: 05/11
Price: 2.99

Batman Arkham Asylum was the best comic book based video game ever.  The developers understood what made Batman and his villains compelling and injected it into every corner of that game.  Now, all eyes are on Batman Arkham City, the sequel to Asylum.  To get gamers and comic readers ready for the new game, DC is releasing Batman Arkham City, a miniseries prologue to the upcoming game.

Spoilers ahead!

Issue 1 of Arkham City is definitely designed to be new reader friendly.  DC knows that this book might attract some people who aren’t as familiar with Batman and his villains as a regular comic reader.  The book picks up a few months after Arkham Asylum.  Joker is locked up.  The Titan formula he drank in the first game is making him sick and slowly killing him.  Harley Quinn is obviously heartbroken.

After Joker’s attack on Arkham Asylum in the first game Quincey Sharp, then warden of Arkham, was elected mayor.  Sharp is cracking down on super villains in Gotham.  He, however, isn’t acting on his own.  There is someone pulling his strings.  The same person is manipulating two of Two Face’s gang members.  Going by  “T&T”, they get their hands on some Titan formula.  T&T attack one of Mayor Sharp’s public events.  Luckily the Batman is there to stop them.  When the fight ends (I won’t spoil the very end for you!) Mayor Sharp uses the attack as the excuse to build Arkham City.

This issue is definitely a set up issue.  There isn’t much action until the last few pages.  It sets up all the characters for readers unfamiliar with Batman.  It really shows the reader Two Face’s obsession with opposites and the number 2.  The back story slows it down but is necessary.  A disappointing aspect that is outside the comic’s control is that I already know who the master manipulator most likely is.  If you’ve seen some of the Arkham City trailers then you know who it is too.  It takes the mystery out of the book.

The art though makes the slower book enjoyable.  Carlos D’anda, the artist, is the concept artist for both the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City video games.  This was a great move by DC because having the same look really connects the game and the comic.  There is a ton of detail packed into each panel.

If you are looking forward to Arkham City then give this book a shot.  This first issue is slow but what it is setting up sounds interesting.  Hopefully once the book gets into Arkham City it will gain some traction.

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