Review: Batman:Arkham Unhinged #58

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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?

(Spoiler) 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.

Conclusion 4/10

This series is a complete waste of time.



Review: Batman: Arkham Unhinged #56 - #57

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Welcome to the Slough of Despond

This plotline has outlived its welcome, and I am ready for it to end. Who is the Bookbinder? Who cares? I'm tired of the ridiculous politics at work in this series though I am not certain whether it annoys me because it is so far removed from reality or because it actually holds up a twisted reflection of the U.S. political process. At this point, I'm just bearing up under the series and waiting for it to come to a close. Do these latest issues lighten my load a little, or is just another load of you know what that I must suffer through?

In these issues, stuff happens and nobody cares.

Sorry, let me try again.

In this issue, Commissioner Gordon is weighed down by politics, things get worse in Arkham City, Mitchell gets brought to justice, Batman beats up some thugs, and Catwoman does some detective work.

End My Misery!!

I feel a bit betrayed because there were actually interesting things happening in this story arch at one point, and I praised Karen Traviss in my commentary on Arkham Unhinged calling her the possibly savior of the series, but now, the story has become lost in endless hints and go nowhere subplots, and it appears our savior was an ersatz prophet. Bookbinder has not done anything interesting for several issues, yet the comic keeps clearly indicating his likely identity. (granted, these hints might be red herrings) Commissioner Gordon does nothing but whine about his job and occasionally talk to Batman. There is a plot line with Mitchell which seems to be accomplishing nothing but underscoring the ridiculousness of paying people to leave Gotham. The politics of this story in general are extremely frustrating with a far fetched political climate, yet it is presented in such a way as to bring my real life political frustrations to a boil. Meanwhile, Batman seems to be twiddling his thumbs on his investigation repeatedly dismissing important clues.

On the positive side, the artwork is fine and the dialogue between characters is strong, but it all feels a bit meaningless when nothing substantive ever seems to happen.

Conclusion 5/10

This is a story which gets worse the longer it lasts. My theory is that Traviss was told to stretch her story as long as possible while DC tries to decide the future of Arkham Unhinged. Regardless, this story is no longer entertaining me.

Batman: Arkham Unhinged #55

Welcome to the Slough of Despond

Arkham Unhinged has been pretty good recently. The story of the Bookbinder is a fascinating one, but it is beginning to feel like this story has stalled. At the end of the last issue, Batman finally discovered a lead on the individual who appears to be the Bookbinder. Will this issue finally show Batman racing towards a confrontation with Bookbinder, or is this story just spinning its wheels?

In this issue, a con artist takes a ride out of Gotham and Gotham for a ride, Commissioner Gordon muses about Batman and Bookbinder, and Catwoman makes a deal with Batman.

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The Stupidest Crime Prevention Program…Ever!

There are parts of this story I love (Bookbinder) and parts of this story I hate. (people imprisoned for political views) I think the scheme proposed to decrease crime and poverty in Gotham, paying people five thousand dollars to leave the city, struck me as so stupid that I mentally blocked it out. In addition to just being a sign of the end of days if a government ever got to that point of paying people to leave a city there is an obvious loophole which could be exploited. Specifically, there is no way to stop someone from saying they will leave and then either not leaving or coming right back. (Spoiler) One such schemer does just that in this issue, and this plot element goes nowhere. I assume he will either be killed by Tyger security or imprisoned in Arkham City in the next issue, but this whole plot point could have been established in one page rather than four. It almost feels as if this plot is being intentionally drug out at this point.

Ready for My Close Up?

I hate to say this because I actually had an exchange with Tony Shasteen just this week about how good his art looked in last week’s issue, but there was some art in this issue which was not great. Shasteen seems to have the big picture stuff down great, but when he does close-ups of people’s faces, things start to look odd. Commissioner Gordon looks a little off, and Catwoman looks Asian in a few panels. Worst of all, Batman looks like he is about to start crying on page fourteen. Other than that, everything looks good, but there is a definite issue with the faces.

Catwoman Finally Appears!

It was nice to see Selina finally come into the story. She has been on the cover for over two weeks without any actual appearances. Her interaction with Batman seemed appropriate, and it is interesting seeing the dynamic between these two in the Arkhamverse.

Conclusion 7/10

The story is still entertaining, but as I said last week, I’m growing tired of the narrative failing to move forward. If something does not happen soon, I’m going to get completely bored with this arc. 

Review: Arkham Unhinged #54

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Welcome to the Slough of Despond

I’ve been greatly enjoying Traviss’ run on Arkham Unhinged, but I am beginning to fatigue of this story. If it were in a tighter package, it would not be so bad, but even though I know it is only about the equivalent of four or five regular issues, seeing that “Slough of Despond” is in its eleventh issue somehow makes me tired. Still, as long as the story stays strong, I really have no right to complain. Is this issue a strong addition to the arc, or has this story lived too long?

In this issue, we see a victory for liberty, Batman’s ongoing investigation, and Gordon’s political juggling.

Waiting Once More

The biggest flaw with this story is that I enjoy it too much. Just when I start to get excited about what is happening, the issue is over. I am beginning to get frustrated with it.

Perhaps part of the problem is that Batman is not getting any big breaks. In most Batman stories, he would have already have figured everything out, but he just keeps plodding along in this arc seemingly incapable of ever catching a break. It is all well told and interesting. I cannot fault Bruce’s methodology or the delivery of the story, but I want Bruce to actually catch this guy, and I do not think I will be patient waiting much longer. Something needs to shift.

Thankfully, Bruce appears to finally be on the right trail at the end of this issue, so maybe that will bring some relief.

Bat Droppings

The art looks very sharp in this book.

They are still using the “Gotham is paying people to leave” plot line active which is beyond stupid. I wonder if they might be secretly shipping the buses to Arkham City, but that would still be stupid because it would be easily uncovered and exposed. 

Conclusion 9/10

I greatly enjoy the issue’s dialogue and much of the plot, but I am becoming frustrated with the lack of development. It’s time for Bruce to get a break and the plot to shift gears from this perpetual cat and mouse game. However, I am getting ahead of myself. For the moment, I really like this story. It’s just a shame it did not get told in a longer format. 

Review: Arkham Unhinged #53

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Welcome to the Slough of Despond

Karen Traviss is the writer of this current long running story arc, and she has brought this title from a series I dread reading every week to one I greatly enjoy. Arkham Unhinged is still not among the upper echelon of Bat titles, but the current story is quite satisfying. Does this issue satisfy my lust for quality Batman comics, or does it leave something to be desired?

In this issue, Penguin punishes an Arkham noob, Bruce ponders his case, and Mayor Sharp finds an enemy.

Too Many Irons or Just Enough?

Traviss continues to make me a believer in this story arc as she moves the narrative ball further and further down field. All the elements of the story, at least in this issue, are handled with great care. Each scene has its own arc. Each character has his own voice. Each panel seems to be there for a reason.

That being said, I am beginning to question just what that reason is. Though I am enjoying the ride, I am beginning to wonder if Karen has too many irons in the fire. At the beginning of this issue, she dedicates a full five pages to the previously unseen character Penguin. How he plays in to any of the multiple plot lines already underway is beyond me. Calender Man has been seen from time to time throughout Traviss' run, but there is never any explanation for his presence. Catwoman, another character absent from this arc, makes an appearance on the "cover," so it stands to reason that we will be seeing her added to the mix as well. All of this is in addition to all the many other story arcs underway.

At the moment, I am on board and willing to give Traviss the benefit of a doubt, but I do hope she has a plan to tie all of this up in a neat little package.

Conclusion 9/10

This seems to be a solid story. Check it out.

I am sorry that I did not get this review up sooner. This review is technically coming out three days late, but Arkham Unhinged is my least checked title, so I figured I should concentrate on more popular content when I got behind schedule. If there is anybody out there who waits for bated breath for my weekly Arkham Unhinged review, let me know, and I will make an effort to review it in a more timely manner.

Review: Arkham Unhinged #52

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Welcome to the Slough of Despond

I hate to admit it, but Arkham Unhinged has been wowing me with its last few issues. Considering the drivel it produced when I first started reading back in August, that is quite a step up. The praise goes to Karen Traviss who has managed to mold a good story out of the poorly crafted narrative of Arkham City. She has tried, with only slight success, to patch up the plot holes from the game. Where she has succeeded is in creating a cunning new enemy for the Dark Knight to face and demonstrating the political and sociological impact of Arkham City. Still, even Traviss’ run has been inconsistent depending on where she focuses each leg of the story. Is Arkham Unhinged #52 a testament to Traviss’ skills as a writer, or is this one story best swept under the rug?

In this issue, reporter Vicki Vale hammers Mayor Sharp for his work on Arkham City, and ahe talks to Bruce Wayne about his opinions of the new penal institution.

The Endless Quest

In the digital format, most comics are very brief wrapping up within at least a few issues as is the case with Legends of the Dark Knight. If the series do not conclude in the strictest sense, they at least give some sense of relief from the dramatic tension with every few issues as is the case with Ame-Comi Girls and Batman Beyond. However, this story arc seems completely content to allow the tension to build indefinitely. The problems of Gotham have only become worse for over seven issues now and there is no end in sight. Civilian concerns over Arkham City continue to mount, citizens continue to be arrested for protesting, the mayor continues to be oblivious, crimes continues to escalate, public and corporate sectors continue to feel the heat, the Bookbinder continues to wreak havoc, and there continues to be no indication that Batman is getting closer to apprehending the villain.

Despite the never ending tension, I am enjoying this arc. The story seems to be telling us the identity of the Bookbinder at this point, and it seems as if he will probably have an interesting motivation when all is revealed. His slow, plodding yet unstoppable mayhem is quite fun, and I am curious how Batman will manage to catch him.

The Irritant

I still cannot get over the idea that protestors are being locked up and nobody is treating this as a serious violation of civil rights. Vicki Vale asks Bruce about his opinion of protesters being locked in Arkham City in this issue, and he replies that, “Arkham City is for maximum security prisoners.” Oh, so you would be okay if people were locked up for using their free speech in a minimum security prison? You just feel maximum is too much? Thanks for that ringing endorsement of freedom Batman.

This flaw in the story is more due to the writers of Arkham City than Traviss’ writing, but I really wish she would have found a way to work around the stupidity of the game.

Conclusion 9/10

Arkham Unhinged continues to impress me with its more recent issues. Hopefully, this story will finish strong.

Arkham Unhinged #51

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The Slough of Despond

Just when I had given up on this series, it surprised me with a truly excellent issue last week. The Bookbinder seems to be intent on teaching the world painful truths one victim at a time just like a less bloody version of Jigsaw from the Saw movie franchise. Traviss does not do a good job explaining away the fundamental problems of Arkham City's plot, but perhaps that is an impossible task. She has, however, done an excellent job creating a new villain for the Batman universe. Does the Bookbinder continue to teach Gotham the hard truths, or has this teacher run out of material?

In this issue, Bookbinder forces the Gotham hygiene inspector to admit to taking bribes while Batman mounts a rescue operation.

Bookbinder Can Still Teach

References to Arkham City and martial law were blissfully absent this time around as Traviss continued to focus on her strongest plot element, Bookbinder. There are many attributes that make Bookbinder a fairly unique character, but the one which I am enjoying the most is that he is truly unpredictable. With enough appearances, no doubt this criminal will develop a MO just like every other, but for the moment, I never know what to expect from him, and I love that.

Traviss continues to handle all characters well, and she takes plenty of time to show how Bookbinder's antics are affecting the city. My only complaint is that the story seems to be taking a little too long to get to its destination.

Conclusion 9/10

Traviss makes me seriously wonder if I have misjudged her writing skills. It is impossible to tell if the arc will finish strong, but for the time being, I am extremely entertained by Arkham Unhinged.

Arkham Unhinged #50

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Welcome to the Slough of Despond

I think Arkham Unhinged could give me ulcers. The first arc I read was the abysmal “Uninvited Guests” story which made me want to vomit. After that came Karen Traviss’s current plotline which has been taking its sweet time to advance. Through Traviss’s story, Karen has shown sparks of brilliance with the Bookbinder, but she has been trapped by the horrible fencing of Arkham City which, sad to say, has a lot of plot stupidity in its playtime. Does Traviss manage to drag Arkham Unhinged from the depth of crappiness, or does she shove it further into the muck?

In this issue, Bruce and Alfred try to contend with the food clue left by the Bookbinder, Commissioner Gordon continues to deal with the crime wave, and Batman considers his motivations while fighting crime.

Brilliance

After months of harping on this series, I have to admit that this issue was brilliant. Bookbinder’s clue seems to threaten somebody relating to food, but the Bookbinder’s clue is so vague, it could mean almost anything. Through the entire issue, Traviss constantly barrages readers with images of everything from coffee junkies to meat processing plants as if daring readers to guess the target. This serves to create a lot of suspense while also creating a mirror for modern day, overweight America.

Batman gazes into the mirror himself as he asks himself why he truly feels the need to combat crime in his own unique manner, and though many of the elements of his exploration have been voiced in other comics, Traviss does put it together in an interesting package. The civilian vigilante element to the story also sets up for an interesting discussion.

Whereas I have previously criticized the series for hiring bargain bin talent, I cannot say that anymore. The bizarrely named Dallocchico takes over for Duce, and Dallocchico’s work is absolutely top notch.

Conclusion 10/10

After a brief surge of hope, I had once again written this series off, but this issue is excellent, and even if you have not been following the story thus far, this issue is worth a purchase. My suggestion to Traviss is that she ignore the constraints of Arkham City as much as possible and continue to present a story which is excellent in its own right.

Arkham Unhinged #49

Slough of Despond

I’ve lost all hope in Arkham Unhinged. It seems the original narrative of Arkham City has too many holes for any of the inexperienced writers of this series to patch up. Though the Bookbinder aspect of this current narrative is quite interesting, the halfhearted justification of Arkham City does not work for me. The displacement of crime ridden neighborhoods is a fun and logical concept, but that the city council has come up with the genius idea of paying the criminals to leave hurts my head. That idea is so stupid, it almost seems like an actual politician could have thought it up. Does this issue improve Arkham City, or is it the same old crap?

In this issue, James Gordon coordinates a city wide curfew while Batman attempts to track the Bookbinder.

Bind Me a Book

Bookbinder really is the saving grace of this story arc. We are in the arc’s sixth issue, and it has just now provided a suspect. I like the concept behind this potential killer, but I thought Commissioner Gordon said he already suspected the identity of the killer, and if Gordon was suspecting this guy, it makes little sense that he would not have already busted the potential murderer. Regardless, I think Bookbinder has an interesting motivation, and I hope he sticks around for awhile and perhaps even makes an appearance in the mainstream universe.

The only other thing I can say that is particularly positive about this issue is the depiction of Batman and Gordon. They have the kind of working relationship which I think is much more appropriate and satisfying than Batman’s typical way of only giving Gordon the time of day when he feels like it.

Anger

Honestly, I think the way Gotham is portrayed as going towards anarchy is poorly handled in this issue, but the martial law aspect of this story bugs me in more ways than one. The day our government starts telling citizens when they can be outside is the day we should throw a revolution. It bugs me that more and more people are perfectly fine with the government telling them what they have to buy, what they can say, and what they can drink. When are people in real life going to say enough?

Conclusion 7/10

This is an okay issue because it focused less on Arkham and more on the Bookbinder.

Review: Arkham Unhinged #48

Slough of Despond

Arkham Unhinged has been a disappointing book. Granted, video games are not known for spawning great stories when converted to other mediums, but quite frankly, this is a Batman comic; it should not be that hard to do. Though it seems that a Batman book set in the Arkham Asylum universe would be a gimme, it has proven to be a bad book overall with poor characterizations, barren art, and mundane story arcs.

Now, it appears that this all might be on the verge of change. The last two issues have actually been quite good overcoming the series challenges and producing a high quality narrative. I promised in my last review that I would recommend this series if it gave me one more good issue. Does Arkham Unhinged finally deliver, or does the package get lost in the mail?

In this issue, Batman fights police corruption and presses Gordon to investigate the imprisonment of peaceful protesters.

Hopes Dashed

I actually had hope for this arc, but that has pretty much been flushed down the drain. I hoped that this story would give a logical explanation to why innocents were imprisoned in Arkham City, but the issues answers to that question are just as stupid as the original problem and seem to ignore fundamental aspects of the justice system such as, oh, I don’t know, a trial! I will not belabor on the stupidity of this plot hole, but I will say that the writer, Traviss, has dug yet another hole. The politicians of Gotham believe they will solve crime by paying criminals to leave, yet the cops will be the ones moving them to other cities? I do not even understand what this one means.

Not All Is Bad

I do like how Batman and Commissioner Gordon are portrayed in this issue. They have good chemistry, and it is nice to see Batman use some humor which still manages to stay in character for him. Furthermore, I like seeing corrupt cops get what is coming to them.

Conclusion 6/10

This issue is not horrible. If you are a big fan of the series, go ahead and pick this issue up, but everybody else should keep their distance. Hopefully, Traviss will focus more on the Bookbinder in upcoming issues since that seems to be the best thing she has working for her.

Review: Arkham Unhinged #47

Slough of Despond

Arkham Unhinged has been a pain in my butt to review every week due to its low quality, but I was pleasantly surprised when last week’s issue turned out to be good. In general, “The Slough of Despond” arc has been okay, but it really seems to have found its stride in the last issue by introducing an interesting villain, exploring logical conflicts arising from the construction of Arkham City, and presenting its story at a good pace. Does this issue continue the new positive trend, or does Arkham Unhinged return to its regular poor form?

In this issue, Batman deals with some street punks as he contemplates the Bookbinder.

The Book Worm

Though he was not even in this issue, I still find Bookbinder to be the most interesting element of this entire arc. I am sure there have been other villains who have killed in a Darwinian attempt to clear the flock of humanity of its more idiotic elements, but I cannot think of one at the moment. Regardless, his scholarly motivation and Jigsaw like trap makes for a somewhat unique style that sets him apart in the Batman universe. My only fear is that this will turn out to be another regular Batman villain just doing a slight variation on his normal theme. It would be more interesting to have a brand new villain plaguing Gotham.

Plugging the Plot Holes

One of my largest complaints about the plot of Arkham City is that it required the citizenry of Gotham and the U.S. to stand idly by as law abiding citizens were locked up. Honestly, I would not be surprised if the United States does reach that level of oppression someday considering its current slide into government control, but I do not believe we are there yet, and I can’t imagine any U.S. city simply standing by scratching their heads as citizens are locked up without apparent reason. In this issue, we witness the moment when Batman first discovers that citizens are being wrongfully imprisoned, and I hope that this plot hole is resolved by the end of this arc.

Conclusion 8/10

Batman: Arkham Unhinged is still a long way from my favorite Bat book, but it has shown a marked improvement. If it has one more good issue, then I will start to recommend this series.

Review: Arkahm Unhinged #46

Slough of Despond

Arkham Unhinged has been in a race with Worlds’ Finest to be awarded the title of worst Batman series. They are both lousy competitors, but I think Arkham is winning by just a nose. The current story arc has shown a slight bit of promise, but my cynicism is in full effect. I find it difficult to imagine Arkham Unhinged becoming so much as a decent book, but if it gets its butt in gear, it could at least limp into second from last place. Does this issue increase Arkham’s stride, or does it cause Arkham to fall even further behind?

In this issue, Bookbinder kidnaps a judge from a talent show and reveals him for the fool he is.

I Never Thought I Would Say This

This was actually a good issue of Arkham Unhinged, and I am eagerly awaiting the next one. I was beginning to think that this story arc was going to end up spinning its tires and deliver a mediocre narrative, but the story found its pace this time. The artist is still less than stellar, but at least he manages to actually give a good quantity of panels as opposed to the last few issues where he has created giant lackluster page spreads with no valuable visual information.

The majority of the issue deals with Bookbinder, and we get a limited glimpse into his psyche. I am very intrigued by him, but I am a little nervous about who he might be. Commissioner Gordon says he believes he knows who the Bookbinder is, but James must be showing some seriously elite detective skills because I haven’t the foggiest. If he is a previously established recurring villain, I am a bit disappointed because a villain that wages a culture war is an intriguing new concept.

Conclusion 8/10

It happened. Arkham Unhinged had a good issue and thereby moved out of last place. As a standalone, this issue is worth purchasing, but you might want to wait until the entire story arc plays out before shelling out the cash lest Arkham Unhinged return to form.

Arkham Unhinged #45

Slough of Despond

The “Uninvited Guests” plotline of Batman: Arkham Unhinged was about as fun for me as a needle being jabbed repeatedly into my eye, but with the last issue, the series seemed to have taken a major turn for the better. Does issue #45 continue the upward trend or does it return to Arkham’s usual crap writing?

In this issue, the Gotham crime wave continues, Batman becomes aware of the Bookbinder, and Mayor Sharp continues to deal with political fallout.

Meh

The last issue was actually pretty good, but I did not give it a particularly good rating because I was cynical about whether the series was actually on the right track. This issue did not exactly inspire me with optimism.

There is nothing outright bad in this issue but neither is there anything overly good. The plot continues to deal with the conflicts introduced in the first issue, but it does not feel like there are any significant developments in any of these areas. The art is just okay, and nothing extremely interesting happens.

Conclusion 6/10

I still think there is potential for good story here, and Traviss may pull it together before the arc is over, but for the moment, the large panel layout combines with the slow plot development to give the whole issue a rather meandering feel. It’s worth checking out if you are a big Arkham Unhinged fan, but everyone else should keep their distance until is clear this is a worthwhile story.

Review: Arkham Unhinged #44

Slough of Despond

It is time once more for the bane of my existence, Arkham Unhinged. I thought that perhaps this series could be good, but in the last four issues it has been unbelievable bad. To call this a crappy comic is an insult to crap. Does issue forty-four continue to stink things up, or has the series finally pulled up out of the death spiral of stupidity?

In this issue, the Mayor gets harassed by the media while Bruce contemplates the Arkham City facilities while they are still under construction. Bruce soon gets wind of a crime in progress.

Arkham Okay?

This issue was a vast improvement over the last. I assume the credit must go to Karen Traviss, the new writer for the series who has just taken the reigns from Derek Fridolfs. This issue does exactly what the series should have been doing all along, expanding on the concepts and repercussions of the games' central narrative. In this issue, we see some of the political fallout from the construction of Arkham City and the displacement of the criminals from one end of town to the other. These kinds of political and sociological realities make for interesting new stories...potentially. If Traviss continues this trend, then we can look forward to a fun story, but it is a little early to determine if she has all her ducks in a row.

Unquestionably, this issue is better than the rest, but one of my complaints about the series still holds true. Specifically, the issues are very short. For whatever reason, someone on the creative team has decided that the panels for these issues must be obscenely large which means that it only takes about five minutes to flip through the story.

Bookbinder

Presumably, a new villain called Bookbinder is introduced, and I must say I am interested. It appears that he is a murderous vigilante, but time will tell. A character, presumably Calendar Man, is shown in custody, and I am curious to see how he will connect to the story.

Conclusion 6/10

This issue is a vast improvement over the last, but the series still has a lot to prove before I accept it as worthwhile. If you are interested in checking this series out, this would be an okay place to start.

Review: Arkham Unhinged #43

Uninvited Guests

I enjoyed the Arkham video games, but the plot of Arkham City stretched my incredulity a bit. Sadly after reading a couple issues of Arkham Unhinged, I have discovered that the writing here fairs even worse than the game. Does issue forty-three convince me I’ve been wrong about this series, or does it just add weight to the idea that this comic brings shame to the name of the Bat?

In this issue, Alfred, Nightwing, and Robin defend Wayne Manor from an attack by Tyger security.

Make It Stop!!!

God, I hate this series. Part of me wants to give up my promise to follow and review every Batman series just so I can stop undergoing this torture, but alas, I must press on.

This issue is actually a slight improvement over the last. At least at the end of this issue, we do not discover that the whole story has been nothing more than a training simulation. Also, Alfred is in this issue, and he is actually well written, and who doesn’t love a little Alfred?

Unfortunately, all the other characterizations continue to suck. Nightwing and Robin are seen grinning widely in nearly every panel even though their home is being stormed by a hostile force. Even if we accept the idea that a group of a dozen armed soldiers are no threat to them (which is not something the Arkham games would ever suggest), they should at least be concerned about the possibility that these soldiers already know or might inadvertently discover the Bat Cave thereby ruining our heroes lives. However, rather than show concern for this, the two idiots grin broadly as if they are going out for a night on the town, and Robin has no shortage of puns to make during combat all of which fall absolutely flat. “I’m feeling generous, so I’ll give you a grand,” he says while kicking villains into a piano. Words cannot adequately represent the amount of impressed that I am not by Fridolf’s writing.

Conclusion    4/10

I could probably write an essay on all the problems with this one issue alone. Suffice to say that this is not a good series and you should save your money.

Batman: Arkham Unhinged #42

Uninvited Guests

I’m reading well over a dozen Batman comics and Batman related titles, and this is the only one that I actually dread reading. It is not the worst comic of the lot in many ways, but it does seem to be the most pointless. This is a series which expands on a game. Now the Arkham Asylum games are great, but their plots are not their strongest suit, and to try to expand the hole-ridden narrative of Arkham City into a weekly comic seems a tall order.

However, I am probably not being fair. Before this one, I had only read one Arkham Unhinged comic. It was bad, but that does not mean that this one is destined to make a poor performance.

In this issue, Batman climbs a building, and Robin staves off an attack from Dr. Strange’s henchmen in the Bat Cave.

Crap

Once again, this series makes me ask the question, “Why is this even a comic?” Robin spends virtually the entire issue bouncing around the Bat Cave making quips as he takes out thugs. The action is choreographed adequately, but it is all undermined by Robin’s obvious failure to take the situation seriously. Furthermore, there is no reason provided for the attack. Between these two factors, it is hard to make any emotional investment in the entire issue.

The art strikes me as decidedly bargain bin. The penciling is not too bad, but the inking uses a very subdued color scheme, and there is some odd blur effect put on certain panels which seem to serve no purpose.

Furthermore, the price is an issue. I’m following three digital exclusives right now, and this is the only one that makes me feel as if I’m getting ripped off. There is no worthwhile insight into any character’s heads through the use of inner monologue boxes, and the panels are drawn overly large. These two factors combine to make this entire issue take about five minutes to read at a gingerly pace.

Conclusion          3/10

I was merciful to the last issue because I thought perhaps I just came in on a boring issue, but this second one has led me to believe that my original instinct was correct, this series sucks.

Arkham Unhinged #41

Uninvited Guests

Up until a couple days ago, I had no idea that there was an ongoing comic series based in the Arkham Asylum universe. I have played both of the main games in the Arkham Asylum series though I have not played through any of the DLC campaigns. I enjoyed both of the games, but I was a little cynical about a comic adaptation since the plot of Arkham City was pretty ridiculous. My cynicism rose when I discovered that Arkham Unhinged was not just set in the same universe as Arkham Asylum, but also told a story set during Arkham City. How can a comic mine for a worthwhile tale in a game where you literally follow Batman's movement every second he spends in the city? Sure, creative liberties and all that, but still, it seem like a difficult task to pull off.

In this installment of Arkham Unhinged, we follow Hugo Strange as he sets his endgame for Arkham City in motion.

A 99 Cent Adventure?

The first thing that struck me about this issue was the price. Only 99 cents for a comic? How long would this thing be? Considering this comic comes out weekly, I expected that perhaps I would only get about eight pages or so. In reality, there are many more pages than that, but each page is about half the length of a comic page, so in the end, you probably end up with about half the size of a regular comic. The price tag fits the story length.

Boooooring!

Sadly, there is no worthwhile story in these pages. All the comic manages to do is show events from the game from Dr. Strange's perspective, but there are no worthwhile insights into either his head or how he set up the operation. More links are established between Ra's Al Ghul and Strange, but the main problem I had with the game's plot was never addressed. Specifically, I would like to know how Ra's had the political capital to have people imprisoned in Gotham. Batman never even makes an appearance in this story, and there is no action. It really adds nothing to the universe.

Conclusion 6/10

If you methodically tracked down every trophy in Arkham City and read every file on every character, then you would probably enjoy this comic, but for anybody looking to spend their money carefully, do not bother with this one.