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Arkham Asylum: Madness Paperback – June 21, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: Arkham Asylum
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401223389
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401223380
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.2 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #977,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Long before Thomas Harris introduced a dark prison with a world-renowned serial killer in its depths, Gotham City had Arkham Asylum, where every inmate was a Hannibal Lecter. The building where all of Batman’s dreaded foes while away the hours before their next escape takes center stage in what proves to be more a slow-burning psychological thriller than the grisly free-for-all the subject suggests. Sabine is a new nurse who must negotiate the administrative politics of the place as much as the halls that hold cannibals, hideously scarred criminals, and psychotic clowns. The story initially owes plenty to the romance-and-relationship-driven plots of shows like Grey’s Anatomy, and it’s only when Sabine is maneuvered onto the night shift that real danger is introduced. It’s the Joker, naturally, who incites the trouble, but even so, his misdoings prove far tamer than the explosion of loony violence you’d expect. Truly, it’s Kieth’s (The Maxx) plump, gnarly, and richly atmospheric art that creates a sense that, no matter who you are or how you got there, once Arkham has you, it never quite lets go. --Jesse Karp --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jon Repesh on June 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It can be quite a disappointment when a much anticipated project fails to live up to expectations. One can become so spoiled by a favorite creator's impressive talents and past successes that you start taking things for granted. Sam Kieth has that type of talent. His surrealistic illustrations are unparalleled in the comic industry and worth the price of admission alone, but when you combine them with his wickedly weird way of looking at the world is when the magic truly transpires. His tales belong to no continuity. They have an eerie and unreal life all to their own. Just strap yourself in and enjoy the madcap ride. One would think a cautionary tale about decadent, dreary ole Arkham Asylum would be right up his perverse alley, but instead of focusing the titular madness on the usual culprits, the infamous inmates, he instead spotlights the asylum's diverse yet ultimately nondescript staff, using them for his psychological explorations on obsession and paranoia. Although certainly a different approach, they're not compelling enough as lead characters to take center stage in this uncanny horror show. Add in the debatable decision of depicting much of this virtual nightmare inappropriately during daylight hours, akin to a sunlit vampire romp, which just further diminished what little macabre mood it aspired to. While not a bad story by any means, it is far too tame for the subject matter, clearly lacking the requisite trepidation and fear. Hell the Joker to a degree is without his normal excessive menace, with most of his amoral acts recounted in the past tense, thus neutering whatever tension they may have elicited.Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Saenz on July 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
First of all I want to say that I didn't know about this graphic novel was coming up. So it was a surprise when I saw it at my local bookstore. At first glance it has one of the coolest covers I have seen and has a very original (and modest) author bio.

Let us consider that Arkham Asylum is a big and complex institution where its staff works on a daily basis side by side with really messed up people who would do and say anything not to get out, not to get noticed, but only to mess you up. This being said, the staff looks and feels pretty "normal". They don't seem stressed and appear relaxed during their work day. They have time to tell some jokes, to eat lunch, and so on. One of the characters refers to the Joker as "ol' green hair". All this tells me they could be working at a bank, for all I care. Sure, some of them have money problems. Some of them don't like their job. Some of them would be working somewhere else. This ruined the experienced for me. Arkham Asyulum has a normal working environment. Yes! Killer Croc is inside a water tank (they call him croc for a reason). Yes! Man-Bat is inside some dark room hanging upside down and making a lot of noise. Also,Two-Face, Scarecrow and Harley make an appearance. But they are inoffensive and they even share some TV time with the guards.

In AA Madness, the Joker delivers. Not because his crazy or evil. Just because he is given the opportunity to do so. You will not believe the security of the place. Joker keeps braking his room's light bulb...No problem! They replace it. Joker wants to make a phone call...No problem! They give it to him. Joker is feeling sick...No problem! They take him to the nursery and leave him unattended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nick Fury on October 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I know Sam Keith's work via the Maxx more than 10 years ago. I enjoyed the Maxx then for its humor and art, and picked this TP up on the basis that 1)I like Batman books, and 2)it's Sam Keith.

Sadly, I had to struggle to finish this book. It's crafted as a day in the life of Arkham Asylum, and has as its main protagonist a young nurse who works there. It explores the fears and frustrations of working in that place and delves into the dark side of the mind of a psycho, the Joker. I'm used to batman books with a plot, but I found none in this. This isn't the reason why I'd pick up a comic and hence my disappointment. Also, I found the narrative dry and uninteresting.

Moreover, I didn't enjoy Keith's art/painting here. I was expecting more of the same from the Maxx comics but the art here is edgier, but uglier. All in, it's an ok average read for me but something I wouldn't have missed if I had.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Garrett Wroblewski on December 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm always thrilled to get an original take on Batman's Rogue's Gallery, and Sam Keith's Arkham Asylum: Madness is certainly that. Unfamiliar with his previous work (aside from my friend's glowing review of his creator-owned book The Maxx), I was unsure what to expect. What I got was an experiment in mixed media art that, while not my usual cup of tea, was quite enthralling in its willingness to explore such a bold visual palette.

The plot revolves around Sabine Robbins, a nurse working a 24-hour shift at Arkham Asylum. A typical day-in-the-life at a workplace that is anything but typical, AA:Madness is a wonderful companion piece to Gotham Central. I say this not because the two titles are anything alike, but because they both delve into the Bat-Universe from the perspective of an average Joe (or Jill, as the case may be).

Everything about this book is unapologetically avante garde. One's willingness to "take the ticket and ride the ride" will determine how enjoyable they find it. Of particular interest is the characterization of The Joker. One of his fellow inmates calls him "gutless" and "old", but the Clown Prince of Crime still has more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

An awesome and bold (if somewhat uneven) look at the criminally insane. Forserious Bat-fans, Kieth fans, and those who enjoy taking a close-up psychological look at the madness of humanity. Grade: B+
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