Title: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Author: Grant Morrison and Dave McKean
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: Nov 2005
Classification: Graphic Novel
Summary from Goodreads:
In this painted graphic novel, the inmates of Arkham Asylum have taken over Gotham’s mental illness detention center on April Fool’s Day and demand Batman in exchange for their prisoners. Accepting their demented challenge, Batman is forced to live and endure the personal hells of the Joker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Two Face and many other of his sworn enemies in order to save the innocents and retake the prison. During his run through this absurd gauntlet, the Darknight Detective’s own sanity is in jeopardy.
Every now and then, there comes along a book that leaves such an indeniable impact upon a person. From the moment the last chapter is completed, the last page concluded, and the last word read, the reader is left forever shaken to their very core and changed for the better. This certain book might ruin it for the reader because every book thereafter would have to live up to the new standard setforth by aforementioned book. Arkham Asylum is that aforementioned book.
Ever since I got back in to reading graphic novels, I have used Amazon to peruse through the endless supply of reading material; one book has always stood out as a must have according to the website, shoppers, and authors alike. Did I mention this book is written by Grant Morrison? Well I just did (in case you did not know, Grant Morrison is one of comics great writers of the new age).
Arkham Asylum is unlike any other Batman tale, as it is more about how the villains run the madhouse and Batman is forced on a journey through their dark domain where he must confront his own inner demons. This tale is as powerful as it is colorful and artistic. The artistic rendering done by David McKean is not the atypical graphic novel artwork; it is patined, much like the art of Alex Ross. That is where the similiarites end, however. Alex Ross’ artwork is realistic in his approach and is very polished. For a tale such as Arkham Asylum, that just would not work. It had to be exaggerated and demented. David McKean accomplished this task and the story is complimented by the artwork.
Grant Morrison’s writing is the key integral piece to this story. A story of such depth needed to be written by a powerful writer; Grant Morrison is the best man for the job. The idea of the story, Batman returning to Arkham Asylum after Joker and the rest of Batman’s rogue gallery have taken over is great in theory, but it is the execution that would have been difficult for any other writer. Morrision added so much humility to Batman while at the same time accomplishing a seemingly impossible feat of adding a new sense of depravity and insanity to Joker. Each and every villain encountered by the Dark Knight is given a whole new dimension. That in itself is a masterful work. Intermixed within the main story is the story of Amadeus Arkham, the original proprietor and warden of Arkham Asylum; his journey into darkness is what I found to be even more interesting as it took a man whose own mind was already twisted, and then unraveled it only to sew it together with violence and despair; upon completion of his story, I was left reeling. Both of these tales in Arkham Asylum work in conjunction with one another and that helps to bring the entire story together.
Read this book and try to look at Batman the same way again. I dare you. I promise you, you won’t be able to. After it is all said and done, this will be no April Fool’s joke; this will be a book that will have a special place upon your shelf. Why are you still reading this review? BUY THIS NOW AND THANK ME LATER.