Now I must admit that I'm not really big on the Caped Crusader. I found the movies (the Burton, the Schumacher, the Nolan) just fairly enjoyable. The vintage TV series was campy at best. When you say Batman, I just think of the costumes. Tight costumes. As in really tight. So tight that they'll show nipples and abs. Nipples so perky that you think, gee, it's really cold outside.
I found Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth at a bookstore. I thought, what better way for my Batman-ignorant self to be acquainted with this superhero than this stand-alone graphic novel. It's the 15th anniversary edition no less. Besides, the story's written by Grant Morrison and the artworks by Dave McKean. The latter is of The Sandman series fame. Sold.
Okay, the story. Now I know why I've never been fond of Batman. The guy's got so many issues. Prick him and he bleeds paternity, identity, and security issues. Slap him and your hand would feel numb by his intense coldness. I never got into Batman's brooding nature. If I were a millionaire, brooding would be the last personality I would have. Anyway, the story concerns with the inmates taking hostage the staff of Arkham Asylum. Their demand is simple: Have Batman go to the asylum and make him be one of them. The asylum residents are of a different breed altogether. They're all the enemies of Batman including Joker, Two-Face, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Croc, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Then I was quite disappointed that there isn't much action in Arkham Asylum. There is plenty of talking though. And lots of panels showing the dark history of Arkham house and how Batman was lured into going there. Blah blah blah blah. And how is Batman released from the asylum? Well, by a simple coin toss. Yes, a coin toss that was probably rigged by Two-Face. Oh, Two-Face, you spoil all the fun. To think you were my favorite villain! You should've been more villain-y.
What I really liked about the graphic novel is the beautiful panels, which were paintings done by McKean. The panels were very gritty. And they did effectively show the themes of horror and psychological suspense. Even the typeface used for Joker's dialogue was very artistic. Just look at some of the panels below.
I'm not really sure if I'll be reading another Batman graphic novel soon. Perhaps I'll just wait for that Batman vs. Superman movie. Ben Affleck vs. Henry Cavill! If only they'd do away with the costumes, no?
Read this book if:
- You fall for these brooding characters.
- You love a guy in tight outfits.
- You have this crazy idea of putting all your ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends in one house and then just seeing what happens.