Arkham Manor #1 Cover Art
A Home for the Criminally Insane, Volume 1
I am generally not a fan of DC Comics; I’m dissatisfied with how they treat their properties, and find the titles to be a bit too on the nose. Debuting side-by-side with another Gotham title, Gotham Academy, Arkham Manor promises to be an interesting spin on the Batman universe, promising enough for me to try this #1.
I was hoping, like Gotham Academy that Batman would have very little page time in Arkham Manor. I was interested mostly if DC and Duggan (whom I love from Deadpool) could find a dramatic angle inside Gotham without resorting to the well-traveled stable of superheros. Issue #1 disappointed me in this respect, but also earned itself a second chance.
The story follows the aftermath of the collapse of the Arkham Asylum–Gotham’s iconic institution. With nowhere to house the mentally needy and criminally insane, the city appropriates Wayne Manor from the bankrupt Bruce as the new Arkham Manor. Wayne, of course, allows this to happen, for the good of Gotham, but soon discovers some terror in the Manor that is torturing and killing its residents. The issue ends with Batman/Wayne assuming a recently deceased man’s identity and allowing himself to be committed inside his old home, and the new Arkham.
Although I was disappointed by the major role to be played by Wayne, I do like the idea of stripping him of his freedom and placing him in a situation where his memories and formative years are played against his need to remain anonymous. I have said many times that the interesting thing about super heroes is not their powers, or really, anything related to their super-ness, but how they repress that side of themselves to operate in society. Arkham Manor looks to be a similar idea, but instead forcing Batman’s identity to die so that Batman’s mission may continue.
Overall, 4/5, with hope for issue #2.