Batman: Arkham City Exclusive Digital Mini-Series
Story by Paul Dini
Written by Derek Fridolfs
Drawn by Dustin Nguyen
Review by Brad Jones
SPOILER ALERT: SPOILER ALERT: THIS REVIEW WILL DISCUSS THE EVENTS FROM BOTH THE ARKHAM ASYLUM AND ARKHAM CITY VIDEOGAMES, AS WELL AS THE ARKHAM CITY COMIC MINI-SERIES.
This series is a direct tie-in and supplement to the five-issue Batman: Arkham City, which in itself is a tie-in to the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City videogames. Whereas you get a fairly straight-forward Batman-Joker-Hugo Strange arc in the five-issue event, this line is a series of character one-off’s that allow some of the supporting characters a 20-page moment in the sun.
Dr. Strange, The Carpenter, The Riddler, Robin, Bane, Harley Quinn, and Mr. Freeze each get an issue establishing their places within the world of Arkham City, and each book has something great to offer thematically and structurally in the context of the world set up by the two videogames and the printed five-issue arc. Of particular note, the Riddler, Robin and Bane books were especially good and help fill in the blanks of how these characters got to where they are when we see them in the second game and why they stand on the sides that they do.
The art is not quite as sophisticated as the art of either the other comic series, or the games, but I think that’s okay, as they feel like more meaty rewards you would unlock during the course of a videogame (like the files you complete over the course of Arkham Asylum). As opposed to the proper Arkham City mini-series, these webisodes rely very heavily on prior knowledge to both of the games and the other arc, but again, does not suffer for it.
It just so happens that I do have read the main Arkham City arc, played through Arkham Asylum and am currently half-way through the Arkham City game…and I loved these profiles. I’d liken this seven-issue string to the prize at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box: these by no means will justify playing the games or reading the other series, but make the experience of the collective Batman: Arkham collection that much richer.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
You need to play both games and read the trade books to really pickup the context of this series, but as they’re all so, so good, it’s no sacrifice.
For a collective $7 – and let’s face it, if you bought the two games and the Arkham City mini-series, you’ve already spent upwards of $140 on Batman: Arkham stuff – it’s more than worth the seven-issue read. Some of the books are better than others, but all add to the collective awesomeness that is the Batman: Arkham line.