Monday, 12 March 2018

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell Review (Dan Slott, Ryan Sook)


A crooked banker (is there any other kind?) thinks he’s being clever by having his trial moved to Gotham where he’s found not guilty by way of insanity. Except in Gotham? The crazies go to a place called Arkham Asylum, a Living Hell that makes Federal prison look like a cakewalk!

I’m familiar with Dan Slott’s work on books like Superior Spider-Man and Silver Surfer so I was curious to see if his Batman was as good – n to the ope! He definitely did far better after moving to Marvel than he ever did during his short time at DC. 

Living Hell is a meandering, unfocused mess of boring nothing. The banker storyline – which wasn’t anything more than a punchline to start with - gets sidelined almost immediately as Slott jumps from one C-list Batman rogue like Jane Doe and Humpty Dumpty to another. Jane’s schtick is to murder people and wear their skins which is apparently so convincing that everyone’s fooled. Hmm. Not that I’ve ever met anyone wearing a skin suit but I’m pretty sure anyone could tell that something’s up. I know, I know, suspension of disbelief, yadda yadda yadda… 

Humpty Dumpty? A dull fat guy who likes putting stuff together again. How imaginative. Get ready to nearly die of boredom during Slott’s telling of that dude’s tedious origin! An artist who paints in blood, Killer Croc biting guards, Aaron Cash the guard doing guard duty – I just do not care about the day-to-day goings-on of Arkham Asylum. Batman and Joker cameo a couple times to remind you this is a pseudo-Batman comic and Jason Blood/Etrigan shows up for a garbage finale involving zombies/ghouls/who cares, that’s awkwardly rammed in to give the semblance of a story arc. I think I hate Etrigan – I can’t stand his annoying rhyming! 

Eric Powell’s covers are cool but everything else about this comic stinks. Arkham Asylum books are never good and unfortunately Living Hell continues to prove that rule. You want to experience a living hell? Read this crap!

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