Book Review: Arkham Asylum

If you believe that comic books are for kids, you need look further than this one, to change your opinion. Arkham Aslum is a classic film-noir, psychological thriller, disguised as a Batman comic.

The art work and the writing transport the unsuspecting reader into a nightmarish journey into the depths of the human mind. This is unlike any other Batman tale you have read or seen.

It features two parallel plots, one from the past and one in the present. The past plot is the pitiable tale of Arkam, a humanitarian doctor who must make peace with his destiny, one in which his loved ones have been taken away by the most vicious of killers.

The asylum, his former mansion is now dedicated to imprisoning the most twisted specimen in society is where the second plot begins. It is these twisted psychopaths who now control this dark and morbid place, holding the staff hostage within. Their demand is simple. They want Batman.

If you're guessing that this is a classic hostage situation, you would be mistaken. This is not a tale of how Batman saves the day for innocent victims, but a tale where the dark knight must face his own fears, his past and all the deep dark secrets that lay buried in it.

The usual suspects are in this tale too, the Joker, Two Face, Clay Face and Scarecrow, all dealing with their own insanity and trying to breakdown Batman and his resolve. It is a story, that also tries to go into the murky depths of the criminal mind and tries to explain how some of them think.

Arkam Asylum is violent and gory and would get an R or NC17 rating if one was to rate graphic novels. I was simply amazed, that it was not as long as I thought it was. The past and present intermingle at the end of the book, to create one of the best and unexpected endings I've read in any Batman comic.

Arkam Asylum is hailed as the most successful graphic novel of all time. This is for good reason. Grant Morrison's story-telling and Dave Maclean's splendid artwork make this a must for comic book lovers. This is the 15th aniversary edition of the book also features an afterword by the editor and the complete script and annotations from the author.

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