When catastrophe strikes Arkham Asylum, where will Gotham City house the world's most dangerous criminals, and when inmates are found murdered, what is Batman prepared to do in search of justice? Arkham's madness comes home in ARKHAM MANOR!What I learned this week in reading these two comics is that the Batman universe is intensely complex and I was totally right to be afraid that I'd be lost trying to get started in it. Apparently there are all kinds of Batman off-shoots that are hard to understand for a Batman newbie like myself. In this particular Batman world, Bruce Wayne has lost his family fortune and the city turns Wayne Manor into the new Arkham Asylum. Someone starts killing inmates and Batman goes undercover as a patient in order to try to find the killer.
This one wasn't bad at all. I had to look it up on some comics wikis to try to figure out the backstory (I never did figure out how or why Bruce Wayne had been kicked out of Wayne Manor), but I found enough information to get me started on this new series. A lot of familiar Batman faces that I expected to see, including some surprise appearances that I wasn't expecting. The story itself was well done and I wanted to finish to see where the characters would wind up. From what I can tell this is a complete series, although it looks like there's another book set in this same Batverse (I made that one up myself) but written by a different author. I didn't like it enough to really pursue reading more of the same, but it was a good enough diversion and I didn't have any complaints.
The Joker is dead. Arkham City is closed. As a new day begins, Bruce Wayne finds himself in devastating pain, recovering from his injuries and questioning whether his role as Batman is still necessary to the city's survival. But as the sun rises in Gotham City, dangerous new threats emerge from the shadows...and the Arkham Knight is just beginning.This one, on the other hand - I have complaints aplenty and they are forthcoming. First of all, this is written in conjunction with a video game. Had I been paying attention and realized that, I never would have requested it for review. Full blame goes to me for not realizing that this is not something that I'm going to enjoy. I have zero interest in most video games and anything that is a novelized video game is just...ugh. So Arkham Knight and I got off on the wrong foot when I looked it up on a Batman wiki and learned that it's a video game novelization.
I could have forgiven it for its video game ties, however, if it had been any good. Unfortunately I didn't like the art or the writing. The art looked sloppy to me, but it's possible that it was due to the fact that I was viewing it in ebook format (although I haven't had similar issues with other DC ebooks). Even if the art wasn't an issue, the writing was just awful. Terrible one-liners abound on pretty much every page. Some of the dialogue is so bad it wouldn't be out of place in a spoof or parody. The story itself isn't that interesting and felt like it jumped all over the place - probably fun for a video game, but disconcerting in a storyline that only lasts a bit over 100 pages.
My overall recommendation to those like me who are just getting started with serialized comics is to stick with the basics. While I enjoyed Arkham Manor enough, I still went into it feeling lost and confused. And the video game spinoff is just not at all my thing. I think I need to go back to the classic collections and work my way through those before getting in over my head and starting off confused.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with copies to review.