Sunday, 4 September 2011

Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

Most people know Batman: Arkham Asylum as a game - and a very good one at that - but what some people don't realise is that the game was loosely based on this graphic novel of the same name. Unfortunately, this comic doesn't really hold up against the game in any way, shape or form and while it may have been great in its time, I'd say it's one to avoid.

Arkham Asylum is an odd book. The story goes that the inmates have taken over the Asylum and Batman has to go in there and put things straight, while saving the captive wardens. Meanwhile, the book also tells the story of the founder of Arkham Asylum and what happened to him.

This book calls itself a "hard-hitting psychological horror." But is it really? My answer has to be no. This book isn't scary - disturbing sometimes, yes - but not very scary. Adding to that it wasn't what I'd call hard-hitting either.
It's merely a book with a big ego. It thinks that it's more dramatic then it actually is. To be honest, I just found it boring. I'm sure a lot of hardcore Batman fans will hate me for saying that but it's the truth. I'm sure if you're willing to invest a lot of time into the book you might be able to see deeper into the story - but the book gives you no reason to do that because it just isn't fun to read.

The art in this book is what really attracted me to it. Dave McKean adopts a very unique style for this story, however I'm sad to say the result is disappointing. While there are some panels where the art looks beautiful, most of the time the art is too abstract for its own good, making the story hard to read and understand. This is disappointing as maybe if the art had been toned down just a little bit I could have been able to appreciate more of what this story was trying to say.

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I understand that this book has lasted 15 years and has a following amongst comic fans, but unfortunately, I won't be joining that following any time soon. I just found this book boring. Whatever story it was trying to tell ends up being lost in the hard to understand art.


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