Monday, May 4, 2009

Battle for the Cowl: Arkham Asylum #1

David Hine has written some strong atmospheric work for DC over the last few months, and he keeps it up here. He's telling the story of Jeremiah Arkham, the asylum's current director. Much of the issue is spent introducing the most crazy of the inmates, the ones that Dr. Arkham makes special time for. I enjoyed the new characters, they were all spooky and they all have potential as a new rogues gallery for the new Batman. That said, when they are competing with the Joker, Scarecrow, and Poison Ivy, I'm not sure what these few inmates have done that warrants them being put in solitary. Surely those other well-known murderers are more deserving of being closeted away in a secret branch. The rest of the issue seems to be re-establishing that Dr. Arkham is insane. He's finding bits of burned text and odd drawings lying around that he thinks are coming from the mad founder of Arkham Asylum, but I'm certain this is just more of his slow descent into madness. As with most of the Battle for the Cowl stories, this isn't really a story that needed to be told. The new psychos are entertaining, but I question the need to add them into the story now.

Jeremy Haun does a nice job on the design of the new characters. The classic villains all look neat too, with the close set panels in that beginning sequence being pretty spooky. Scarecrow looks like a maniac. At times Haun's faces start to distort a bit, but for the most part everything looks decent.


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