After the triumphant return of the caped crusader to our consoles via the simply wonderful ‘Arkham City’ and now having his appearance in a new graphic novel thrust into my always grateful mitts, I have concluded that 2011 is actually ‘the year of the bat!’
This new hardback work of art, published by DC comics fills in the blanks between the finale of Arkham Asylum and the first chapter of latest console bat-fest, Arkham City, and what a glorious little tale it is.
With a story penned by Paul Dini, a man whose career has featured Batman heavily, including Batman: The Animated Series and both the Arkham games, and artwork from the incredibly talented Carlos D’anda, it should come as no surprise that the whole package is beautifully presented and full of the dark, brooding intensity we know and love from the caped one’s adventures.
The story tells of the opening of Arkham City, the battle for control being fought by the Joker and Penguin and the dominant power that is Dr. Hugo Strange vying for total control with his puppet-master manipulation of those around him. It’s a great addition to the latest Batman games and takes the reader straight into the heart of Arkham’s darkest places.
Thanks to the fantastic artwork driving the story along the whole thing is bouncing with life. Each character has been captured perfectly, not surprising really as Carlos D’anda worked recently doing character design for the video-games, some of which is featured at the back of the book in stunning detail.
It’s comfortably possible to read from cover to cover in a couple of hours, as is often the case with graphic novels, but in the case of Paul Dini’s latest this is simply testament to just how good a page-turner ‘Batman: Arkham City’ is. Of course when the artwork inside is as rich and detailed as we have here there’s ample reason to go back over the story time and time again discovering the little intricacies of each frame and adding a whole new lease of life to the book.
The cover art is another example of the brilliant work throughout, featuring Batman perched on a wire high above the bleak, gothic architecture of Arkham as the Bat signal lights up the night sky in the background, classic caped crusader.
To sum up, Batman: Arkham City is a graphic novel that is sure to please. This lead-in to the console Arkham City is a joy to be devoured. Whether you’re a hard-core fan of the games looking to fill in the blanks, a fan of everything batman, an avid gamer or simply on the lookout for an exciting new read, Batman: Arkham City ticks every box.