Batman: Arkham Asylum: 25th Anniversary Edition by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean (graphic novel review).

Thinking it was long overdue that I read ‘Arkham Asylum’, I picked up this graphic novel 25th anniversary edition and read it before I reviewed ‘Welcome To Arkham Asylum’ and again after, bearing in mind their insights as it was their key reference.

Don’t expect a traditional comicbook story. Artist Dave McKean clearly paints from emotion than storytelling and you need to pick out from the dialogue what was going on, which is done in different formats for each character. I don’t know if this is a problem only with this edition, but the Joker’s dialogue was a lot harder to read than the rest. I think I would have at least enlarged the font size from 8 point to 12 point without losing the art.

The plot? Basically, the inmates have taken over Arkham Asylum and the Joker wants the Batman inside with them. During this, he meets up with various members of his rogue’s gallery and tries to maintain his own sanity.

I learnt a lot more by reading Grant Morrison’s full script as to just what was going on. Rather interestingly, Morrison actually drew out aspects of the story in the more traditional comicbook style which does make me wonder why no one has thought to do a reinterpretation of the story that way.

I’m still not quite sure how the story is revered so much. The art is distinctively odd but pulled along by the story so it’s down to interpretation and you either like or dislike it. I get the twist at the end and never think that Two-Face can never cheat.

GF Willmetts

February 2020

(pub: DC Comics, 2014. 224 page graphic novel including extras. Price: I pulled my copy for £11.60 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-40125-124-6)

check out website: www.dccomics.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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