If you can look past what has to be the ugliest Batman cover of the year, you’ll find 3 stories from the Arkhamverse at an excellent price of $2.99. It’s a pretty good deal considering it’s much, much longer than any other $2.99 book you’ll buy today. And two of the stories were plotted by one of the most renowned writers of Batman, Paul Dini (who wrote both video games as well).
The first story is called “Surgeon’s General” and it’s a whole lot like that Animated Series episode “Legends of the Dark Knight”. It’s a pretty nifty way of making the variant outfits you can have Batman put on make sense in the context of the video game . I did a full review for this tale way back in December when it was only available on Comixology.com. In those days I reviewed each book as being worth a buck or not. This one was worth a buck.
The next two episodes in this book had their stories devised by Paul Dini but the writing was entirely Fridolfs. And I have to say that even with both of these guys working on “Three’s A Crowd” it was still horribly, horribly boring. I don’t know how exactly they managed to make a story about Joker, Harley, and Scarface one of the dullest things I’ve read, but it happened. Artist Al Barrionuevo’s heavy lines and awkward facial expressions didn’t help matters either. It’s not a pretty read and it’s not an interesting read. Was this a story that really needed to be told? Did we need to see Joker’s weird attachment to a ventriloquist dummy? The whole story is that Joker plays with a doll all the time, Harley gets jealous and throws it away, and Joker gets a new one. That’s it.
As for the third and final story, it started off great. I was liking the art much better and it was Dini, the man who did “Heart of Ice” plotting this yarn. But I wasn’t even done with the first page when there was mention of Mr. Freeze powering his freeze gun with diamonds. Are we seriously using the diamond thing from the Joel Schumacher film “Batman & Robin”?! That’s pretty bad but I can overlook it. Whatever. But the whole story begins with an escape that involves giving a guard some diamonds and in return Mr. Freeze gets his freezing gun. Why……why would anyone make that deal? You can imagine how things turned out for the guard. But then later on there’s a twist about the gun getting to Freeze was someone’s plan all along and I’m like “Why did he have to trade diamonds and kill the guard if they were just going to give him the gun?” There isn’t much here that makes sense and what does isn’t very interesting. At least Jimbo Salgado, Jeffrey Huet, and Randy Mayor made part III: “Glacial Speed” look good.
I can’t recommend that you buy this. Even though you’re getting more pages than other comics, they aren’t good pages.