Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Arkham Manor #1 Review (Gerry Duggan, Shawn Crystal)

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman is the only Batman title I keep up to date on because it’s so damn good; I ignore the other ten thousand Bat-titles that get churned out, especially the drek that is Batman Eternal. But this comic informs me that it takes place after the events of Batman Eternal #30 so I’m assuming the following is how that series is turning out (and makes me glad I dropped it after #3!). 

For some reason the ground under Arkham Asylum opens up and the place falls apart. Gotham authorities look for a place to house the inmates before settling on Wayne Manor, a place that the “idiot son” lost along with the family fortune and now no-one lives there. Doesn’t sound like Bruce Wayne’s character but whatever, I’ll go along with this - so far, so terrible. Oh, that’s it? Oh. That’s it. 

I actually would’ve preferred an Odd Couple type story following Bruce and Alfred in their new apartment! But no, off to Arkham Manor we go instead where an inmate has been murdered and Batman has to figure out whodunit. 

The case itself seems fairly straightforward, at least by Batman standards. He’s had to deal with murders in Arkham before and has managed to figure out some pretty taxing ones in an evening or two. But, while this doesn’t seem like the most important case to warrant the time investment, Bruce goes through the trouble of concocting a new identity - Jack Shaw - and entering Arkham Manor as an inmate, to figure out who the killer is from the inside. So that’s what the series is going to be. Boooo! 

I’m a huge Batman fan but this comic did nothing for me. I didn’t care about anything happening in it, nor do I want to see Batman, or “Jack Shaw”, find whoever killed some unknown crazy in the dullest of murder cases. Gerry Duggan’s writing isn’t too bad, it just isn’t very special either - he can’t make Batman seem interesting or give Arkham Manor a style of its own. It reads like exactly what it is: a bland offshoot from an equally bland series, Batman Eternal. 

Shawn Crystal’s Batman is awful. The first time we see him, he looks like Lurch from the Addams Family cosplaying as Batman! And I don’t know if its because of Batfleck being cast and DC are warming us up for the giant ass-chin that dude has (imagine that thing on 3D IMAX!), but Batman’s chin in this comic is HUUUUUUGE! I don’t know why Crystal insists on having bristly-chinned Batman either - what’s wrong with clean-shaven? And the Batmobile - yuck. Looks like Batman tried, and failed, at building the Thundercats’ Thundertank! 

It really sucks that the two Batman themed comics launching this Halloween month have turned out to be such disappointments (the other being the lacklustre Gotham Academy). But after just one issue, I know I’m not going to be back for Arkham Manor #2!

Arkham Manor #1

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