Is Arkham Unhinged Living Up to Its Potential?

Posted by BatWatch (2610 posts) - - Show Bio

The Scheme

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You can’t blame DC for trying. They had a breakout hit on their hands with Arkham Asylum, and things got even better with the release of Arkham City. With all the undiluted Batman love floating around, how could they pass up the chance to create a comic to compliment the game? With a little luck, some of those video game Batman fans would pick up the issues, realize just how awesome the comic medium can be, and become lifelong comic book fans.

Alongside the release of Arkham Asylum, DC released “The Road to Arkham” which chronicled Batman’s capture of several of the game’s villains. The book was well received, and thus the Arkhamverse was born. DC followed up on this success somewhat bizarrely by releasing two separate Arkhamverse miniseries simultaneously, one digital and one physical, leading up to the release of the second game. These series were received well but less enthusiastically. Always willing to embrace a negative trend, DC immediately launched an ongoing Arkhamverse comic to go along with the game, Arkham Unhinged, and it has been in digital first publication ever since.

The Problem Is…

The problem is…Arkham Unhinged sucks.

Arkham Unhinged has a rotating cast of contributors, so it differs in quality from month to month, but as a whole, it has been crap.

Here is what you usually get from Arkham Unhinged:

1. Stories which expand small event of the game and turn them into large events without adding significant substance to warrant the tale leading to a hollow, soulless story

2. Horrible representations of both hero and villain characters

3. Bargain bin art

4. Stories which explain things already experienced in the game

5. Stories which break continuity with the game

What you do not get from Arkham Unhinged:

1. Good stories focused on the games underutilized characters

2. Any glimpse of what happens after the end of Arkham City.

Corrupting Minors

What kills me about this is that these comics will be the first that many young kids will ever read about Batman, and they are simply not that good. Most kids will not know the difference, but in a few years, those kids will have more discriminating tastes, and instead of embracing the comic medium and becoming lifelong comic fans, they will leave comics behind thinking they are silly and immature child stuff. What could be a win/win for DC is instead becoming a cheap cash grab.

Our Savior?

Karen Traviss has been doing an excellent story in the pages of Arkham Unhinged for nearly three months now which is a really long time for a weekly series, and though I do not love every aspect of her story, “Welcome to the Slough of Despond,” it is an overall great story fully worthy of the name of Batman. Her story takes place while Arkham City is being constructed, and she has created a fascinating new villain named Bookbinder who seems intent on exposing the corruption and laziness of society by means which are truly unpredictable. This central conflict takes place with the backdrop of Arkham City’s construction where Traviss addresses the real (or rather, semi-real) political and sociological fallout that would accompany such a penitentiary project.

It is fully possible that Traviss’ epic story might end with an epic fail, but so far, she has been the best thing to happen to Arkham Unhinged. I can only hope that DC continues this trend of hiring writers with quality stories to tell in effort to convert new Batman followers.

DC has a chance to make some lifelong Batman mans. Do not waste this chance, DC!

For more news, reviews, and commentary for the entire Bat Family, check out BatWatch.net.

#1 Posted by FatihBATMAN (1389 posts) - - Show Bio

i think its pretty good!! the whole shabang, i have red every episode, and gonna keep buyibg them, im a bug fan of the Arkhamverse! While its not as good as the Batman canon its a good sidetrack to read!

#2 Posted by SmashBrawler (5637 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, I imagined this series wan't going to be too good. Dini's Arkham City miniseries was just okay.

BTW, does this include End Game or was that actually good?

#3 Posted by FatihBATMAN (1389 posts) - - Show Bio

Good question

#4 Posted by Skewer (325 posts) - - Show Bio

The series should just get cancelled, there's just no more story you could get out of it.

#5 Posted by BatWatch (2610 posts) - - Show Bio

@FatihBATMAN said:

i think its pretty good!! the whole shabang, i have red every episode, and gonna keep buyibg them, im a bug fan of the Arkhamverse! While its not as good as the Batman canon its a good sidetrack to read!

Well, to each their own. It did not work for me, but maybe I am being overly cynical. What is your favorite story so far and why?

@SmashBrawler said:

Yeah, I imagined this series wan't going to be too good. Dini's Arkham City miniseries was just okay.

BTW, does this include End Game or was that actually good?

@FatihBATMAN said:

Good question

I didn't look at End Game in particular. In fact, I have not read most of these books, but I have looked at several reviews of them by people I trust. I wanted to include that tidbit in the main article, but when I try to fit too many details in an OP, people stop reading. From what I understand, End Game was just okay.

@Skewer said:

The series should just get cancelled, there's just no more story you could get out of it.

If they had a plot set for the next game in the franchise, they could do a lot to set up for it and fill in the gaps between now and then, but I am sure they do not want to give any writers liberty to explain what happens after the game until the story for the next game set in stone.

I mentioned liking "The Slough of Despond" but it is beginning to fill like it is just stalling.

#6 Posted by SmashBrawler (5637 posts) - - Show Bio

@BatWatch: Alright, that's what I had heard about it.

The way I see it, the series sells because it has "Batman: Arkham somethingsomething" on the title, so DC doesn't really care about its quality as long as it sells. Plus, it's a digital series, so that probably puts it even closer to the bottom of their priority list.

#7 Posted by BatWatch (2610 posts) - - Show Bio

(laughs about somethingsomething) That's quite possible.

I need to research how the digital first series are selling. It is a bit difficult to figure since they are sold separately and then later in solid form, so I am not sure what ComicBookResources' sales estimates record. Regardless though, I have seen enough numbers to know that the digital first sales are not insignificant.

#8 Posted by redhoodnet (153 posts) - - Show Bio

I really enjoyed the Arkham City Sirens issue that we got last month. I would say that out of all the Comics that came out out of a videogame this may be the best. Is this Snyder's Batman? No of course not. But I think it is good fun!

#9 Posted by BatWatch (2610 posts) - - Show Bio

@redhoodnet said:

I really enjoyed the Arkham City Sirens issue that we got last month. I would say that out of all the Comics that came out out of a videogame this may be the best. Is this Snyder's Batman? No of course not. But I think it is good fun!

I'm glad you liked it, but the reviews I have heard on the issues currently coming out in hard copy have been rather bad. I know the recent fair before Traviss' run was awful, and even Traviss' stuff is far from great.

Anyway though, it is always nice, on some level, to see a Batman book has a fanbase.

#10 Posted by FatihBATMAN (1389 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually like all of the episodes, the whole series in fact...Because its rare that I play a game even well after a year plus has a nice side series, its a very cool thing (for me) to still be served with "fan service" about the game. love the game, love the comic series.

#11 Posted by BatWatch (2610 posts) - - Show Bio

@FatihBATMAN said:

I actually like all of the episodes, the whole series in fact...Because its rare that I play a game even well after a year plus has a nice side series, its a very cool thing (for me) to still be served with "fan service" about the game. love the game, love the comic series.

That's cool. I think the idea of having a comic based of the game is cool, but I just didn't feel the stories were that great, but to each their own.

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