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Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious Earth, 15th Anniversary Edition Paperback – Deluxe Edition, November 1, 2005
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“ Morrison's first big commercial hit – and his first shot writing Batman, a character he would spend a great deal of time with over the course of his career – was this ground-breaking graphic novel featuring the grim, twisted artwork of painter Dave McKean. In this darkly poetic, psychologically rich tale, Batman faces off against the Joker, Two-Face, the Scarecrow and other villains inside Gotham City's house for the criminally insane”—ROLLING STONE
“Grant Morrison and Dave McKean explore that connection in Arkham Asylum, one of the finest superhero books to ever grace a bookshelf”—IGN
“Between Morrison's esoteric writing and Dave McKean's gorgeous painting, this may very well be my nominee for the definitive Batman story. Yes, even more so than The Dark Knight Returns, Year One, or The Killing Joke. Exploring both Batman and his rogues equally through significantly different characterizations than typically seen in the main DCU, Morrison boils these characters down to their essence while providing a chilling mystery story set within the confines of Gotham's home for the criminally insane”—CRAVE ONLINE
“The art of this story is striking, beautiful, and yes, today’s secret word: disturbing.”—NEWSARAMA
About the Author
Grant Morrison has been working with DC Comics for more than twenty years, beginning with his legendary runs on the revolutionary titles ANIMAL MAN and DOOM PATROL. Since then he has written numerous best-sellers — including JLA, BATMAN and New X-Men — as well as the critically acclaimed creator-owned series THE INVISIBLES, SEAGUY, THE FILTH, WE3 and JOE THE BARBARIAN. Morrison has also expanded the borders of the DC Universe in the award-winning pages of SEVEN SOLDIERS, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, FINAL CRISIS and BATMAN, INC., and he is currently reinventing the Man of Steel in the all-new ACTION COMICS.
In his secret identity, Morrison is a “counterculture” spokesperson, a musician, an award-winning playwright and a chaos magician. He is also the author of the New York Times best-seller Supergods, a groundbreaking psycho-historic mapping of the superhero as a cultural organism. He divides his time between his homes in Los Angeles and Scotland.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book, the inmates take over Arkham Asylum, and the Joker lures Batman in by threatening the hostages. What follows is an examination of Batman's psyche through the use of his rogues gallery and heavy symbolism.
The major strength of this book is it's artwork. Dave McKean has made a name for himself by combining photo-realism and impressionistic images to form some of the best looking comics out there, and his is no exception. His take on the Joker is a sight to behold.
The writing, while good, does have one major flaw. Grant Morrison used this novel to examine the 1980's era of Batman, marked by him being much more of a violent psychopath than a calm warrior. As a result, there are a number of lines and scenes that seem out of character, putting this story firmly in Elseworld territory. In context though, Morrison does a great job weaving tarot symbolism into this story. I would definitely recommend this comic to anyone.
There are two storylines woven together in “Batman: Arkham Asylum.” The main line involves Batman entering an Arkham Asylum being run by the inmates. There he finds himself pitted against his foes: the Joker, Two-Face, Scarecrow, and others. The other is the 19th century tale of Amadeus Arkham’s descent into madness.
As is common in the Batman mythology, psychiatrists are portrayed as walking the razor’s edge between sanity and insanity. For those who don’t read comic books, this is most readily exemplified by the character of Dr. Crane / Scarecrow in the first film of the Nolan trilogy, “Batman Begins.” I’m not sure whether the point is to create enemies that are so strong they can bend doctors to their will, or if there is a general disdain for psychiatrists—as one might see a dislike of lawyers in other stories.
Among the nightmarish elements of this work is the fact that Batman’s face is never seen clearly. The Dark Knight is always a vaguely and/or surrealistically silhouetted. There’s a mix of sharpness and haziness in the graphics. The Joker gets his own crazy scrawl font. The graphics are as creepy and strange as can be. On my low-end Kindle, the work was in black and white, which worked well. I did look at the sample pages, and the color version uses a lot of sepia and crimson.
“Batman: Arkham Asylum” asks us to consider whether Bruce Wayne / Batman is sane or just a lunatic with a moral code.