[World of Bats] Infinite! "Batman: Arkham Asylum"

Hello and welcome to the newest installment of the World of Bats, the Batman Book Club!

We’re starting a little earlier than normal because today is a special occasion – the launch of DC Universe Infinite! Look at everything, so bright and shiny! Maybe a little too shiny…

But anyway! This week and for the next weeks after, we’re going to be covering some of the classic titles that have come from the Infinite relaunch. For now, we’re starting with a personal favorite of mine, “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean, or as it was originally called: “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth.”

One of the greatest Batman stories ever told, Batman: Arkham Asylum is back in a new edition of the classic hardcover! The inmates of Arkham Asylum have taken over and are demanding Batman in exchange for their hostages. Accepting their demented challenge, Batman is forced to endure the personal hells of The Joker, the Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, and many other sworn enemies in order to save the innocents and retake the asylum. Includes newly remastered artwork by Dave McKean, available for the first time in this format.

You can find the link to the graphic novel HERE!

NOTE: On the page for the book it lists the book as 228 pages, which sounds like a lot. However, the story itself is about 110 pages, with the rest being backmatter – including a cover gallery, the original script by Grant Morrison, and behind the scenes material on how the pages were remastered. So if you just want to read the story, you don’t have that much to deal with – I’ll probably be posting a lot of stuff from that backmatter here anyway. :sweat_smile:

So we’ll be reading this book from 2021-01-21T06:00:00Z2021-01-29T06:00:00Z

So be sure to tell us your thoughts about this book here! Have you read this book before? Does it live up to the crazy hype of the cover blurb? What do you think this book is about? Any thoughts you have, let’s dig into this bad boy like Mad Dog Hawkins! :smiley:

For questions or concerns, contact @BatJamags or @Jay_Kay.

Click here to learn more about World of Bats.

Click here to join and get cool flair!

2 Likes

And if you need more Batman related books to read (or just need a lighter fare about this week’s reading), check out these fellow awesome groups!

WOB is continuing to collab with Renegade Robins with issues of Batman & Robin Eternal and We Are Robin in lead up to the Robin War event. The group is also chronicling the first issues of the Rebirth era of Red Hood & The Outlaws, as well as the first issues of the New 52 Batman & Robin!

Also, if you’re looking for more Robin, Damian shows up in one of the issues of Legion of Super-Heroes during the current reading of the Legion Book Club. The 31st Century may never be the same!

For more Robin/former Robin goodness, check out the Dick Grayson Fan Club as they continue for the rest of the month to read Nightwing: The New Order!

Meanwhile, over at Harley’s Club, they’re reading the first three issues of Harley & Ivy Meets Betty & Veronica, as well as select issues from Joker’s Asylum!

Over at the Birds of Prey Club, the deep dive into their origins continue as we read through the stories of Huntress, Black Canary, and Oracle in the Showcase issues of 1993-1996, including the first true, official story of the Birds of Prey!

And last, but certainly not least, the New To DCU Club returns, detailing the first arc of James Tynion’s current run on Batman, “Their Dark Designs!”

If I miss anything, please let me know. :slight_smile:

3 Likes

WHAT?!?! It’s returning? You should check it out!! :wink:

2 Likes

Mommmiieee

i Never read this but I will for sure check this out

1 Like

It’s okay, Don, you’ll be safe…in her wedding dress… :rofl:

Awesome! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. :smiley:

3 Likes

Few more days until the next one! How’s everyone doing on the reading? :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I’ve been away for a little bit, but I was excited to read this one now that I’m back. I’d never read it before, but my first impression was that it would be awesome and gothic and a little unsettling. I think I was right.

The art was beautiful and it paired perfectly with the story. I loved how Batman was always shadowy; I don’t think we ever got a clear look at him. Joker looked as menacing as I’d ever seen him. It also seemed to me that the name characters (Batman, Joker, Two-Face, etc) popped off the page while the more normal characters didn’t stand out so much.

I also really enjoyed how everything seemed to pay-off. Early on there was a close up of a calendar on April 1st and later Joker referenced April Fools. There were also Arkham making a big deal about the statue with the spear on top of the building and later Batman fights Killer Croc using the spear. (Forgive me, I’m not up enough on mythology to know who it was a statue of)

2 Likes

The story also had a lot of religious symbols that I’m not sure exactly what to think about


2 Likes

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :smiley:

I wanted to make sure so I looked it up, the statue and really the whole scene between Batman and Croc is a take on The Revelation of Saint John, depicting the war between Heaven and Hell during the apocalypse, of the Archangel Michael fighting and slaying the dragon. In the script for the story attached to the book, Morrison adds some postscript stuff further explaining and giving further context:

I think Grant is definitely onto something in terms of the feeling of the story. This was the second comic I ever bought and read (Dark Knight Returns being my first), and I think I was…12, give or take a year. I certainly wasn’t read up on a lot of the stuff he was talking about here, but I remember feeling that while there was more to the story I wasn’t quite cognizant of, I still felt that there was a strange sense of rebirth here. How being lost in this Asylum had brought him low, but something at that point had awakened in him, a stronger sense of self and who and what he is.

1 Like

Thanks for the insight. I knewthat there had to be something there, but I didn’t know what. I think you’re right about the sense of rebirth.

What was your take on the thing with Two-Face at the end? Was that Batman taking a leap of faith? It initially seemed odd to me that Batman seemingly left his fate to chance and then there was the reveal of how the coin landed. :thinking:

1 Like

First of all, holy crap, I never pieced together that the coin was on the scarred side. How did I never notice that?! :sweat_smile:

As for my take, I think for a lot of this story, this is a very weak, unsure Batman. In the beginning, he admits to Gordon that he’s afraid of what would happen if he went in the Asylum, if he would feel at home. But as Batman goes through the asylum, faces the trials, he realizes that while in a sense he does belong there, that’s not all of who he is. So when he has Two-Face decide, it was him embracing all of himself, the rational and irrational.

As for why Two-Face decides to go against the coin, here’s how Grant talks about it. In the script:

And in the post-script:

Harvey Dent transcends his role here and steps out of the game, ending it with an act of defiant compassion.

1 Like

Another thing occurs to me, Batman could have left through the back entrance with the doctor, but he didn’t. He chose to come back and finish the game and leave through the front door. Was this a mentally stronger Batman showing all the rogues that he hasn’t been broken? Was it Batman not showing Joker a hint of weakness? I’m thinking it might be some of both

1 Like

I like Arkham Asylum. I’m not sure if it is really suitable to read digitally, though…

All good points, but I think the reason why some more logical things didn’t happen was that the book works in a sort of dream logic. Morrison describes it as such in the post-script for the ending:

It explains a lot of what we see here.

I read a bit of it digitally (mostly reread it from my awesome Absolute edition I was gifted last year), and it mostly works okay. The only thing that is hard to read at times is Joker’s strange dialogue balloons.

Oh, and I remembered something cool – a while back, about a decade ago, someone made a cool fan film/trailer for the book that was incredibly well-made.

2 Likes