Welcome to the Slough of Despond
I'm ready to give Arkham Unhinged a failing grade every week until it actually moves forward. The story has been dragging its feet for months now delivering a story with some strong elements which are sadly lost amongst more ridiculous concepts. I would spell out the specifics, but I have done this in many past reviews, so why repeat myself? Regardless, this series needs to show some development now! Does this issue finally move forward or is it another step backwards?
In this issue, Mayor Sharp hires a private investigator to watch Councilman Grove, Councilman Grove gives the PI nothing to see, and Batman pays Grove a visit.
More of the Same
Let's start with the art. The coloring is good, but the penciling is not. Environments look okay, but faces look odd with Batman's head appearing too large and too angular. Also, there is a chase scene in tunnels where it is very hard to follow the action.
Beyond that, everything about this issue feels slow and meandering. I have just about concluded that this story is going nowhere.
Many Curse Words
(Spoiler) Though the first half of this issue seems business as usual, the latter half takes two unexpected turns. First, it is confirmed that Councilman Grove is Bookbinder which surprised me because in addition to being super obvious, Bruce's deduction of this was anti-climactic. Rather than putting together a puzzle and finding evidence to back up his claim, Bruce just kind of meanders slowly through this story as if he has all the time in the world and wants to be careful to avoid anything which is not clearly spelled out in iron clad fact. Bats spends thirty minutes outside Grove's house. What's the point of that? Why not go in, look around and interrogate Grove? He does it all the time in other comics.
(Spoiler) There is also a scene where Bruce finds a whole bunch of bottles in Bookbinder's lair. If there is significance to this, I have forgotten it. Since Batman assumes there are no fingerprints on this work station, he does not bother turning Bookbinder over to the cops. Couldn't there be some fingerprints Batman couldn't see or some other evidence in Councilman Grove's house?
Finally, the series just ends. Batman does not catch Bookbinder,
and the series goes on hiatus. If it had been delivering excellent
stories, that would be one thing, but it didn't. It's been drawing
things out with apparent filler, and now it ends without a conclusion
with the words, “Look for Arkham Unhinged in the near future.” If
I were not determined to keep BatWatch a family friendly site, I would have some choice words.
This series is a complete waste of time.