Batman: Arkham Unhinged #2 review

I like how Mike S. Miller draws this world. Sure there could be a few more little details and maybe some elbow grease from colorist Gabe Eltaeb could be used to make these environments look less squeaky clean, but overall it looks great. Except for one thing: I don’t like how Batman is drawn. At all.

Yeah, batman actually shows up in this issue and I can’t quite place why I don’t like how he’s drawn. Something about the cowl. Something about how there are too many shots where I can see up Batman’s nose. Maybe It’s how he looks skinny in some shots and bulky in others…I dunno. But everybody else looks fine. I just wish those shots of Catwoman in her zipped up suit weren’t so jarring. Maybe it’s because subconsciously I’m anticipating those over exaggerated knockers to be there and when they aren’t I feel frightened and confused.

This chapter begins with the classic rooftop meeting between Batman and Gordon. When it comes to dealing out exposition in a Batman comic someone’s either got to watch the news (as we saw in Arkham Unhinged #1) or you go the more subtle route of having Batman talk things over with Gordon on the roof of GCPD. And explaining plot points in the latter method feels far more natural so already the book is off to a better start than the previous installment.

Speaking of the previous installment, when we last left Catwoman she was scoping out the Tyger guards who had just ransacked her apartment. Suddenly a gloved hand covered Catwoman’s mouth and we had ourselves a cliff-hanger. To nobody’s surprise, the hand belonged to Batman and Catwoman is now in Batman’s custody.

The typical witty banter followed by escape happens and then the story finally digs into some fertile ground. Who here knows about the daddy of all Arkham Asylum Easter eggs?

Well, Arkham Asylum is now the headquarters of Tyger and it’s also where the blueprints for Arkham City are (as you saw in the video) and since Catwoman needs to get into the Arkham City vault to retrieve her stolen loot we all get to go on an adventure back to Arkham Island. The fact that they incorporated the hidden room from the first game is icing on the cake, really. However, if a prison island filled to the brim with mercenaries wasn’t enough for you, Two-Face shows up as well and he wants the blue-prints as well. But that’s where it stops making sense. Two-Face was trying extra hard to not end up in Arkham City, he even ratted out Catwoman. Now he’s going to Tyger guard HQ to steal blue prints to a vault inside Arkham City so he can break into Arkham City and steal Catwoman’s loot for himself? It’s just not smart. But that was a problem I had with the Arkham City game in general, Two-Face seems less bright in the Arkhamverse and apparently he flipped the coin one too many times to come up with this idiotic plot.

It’s also amazing how easily Two-Face’s goons handled the Tyger guards. It shouldn’t be this easy to A) even get to Arkham Island or B) Infiltrate the Tyger base. If you’ve played the game then you know Two-Face’s thugs are the weakest and Tyger guards are nothing if not prepared.

Still, it was cool to see the secret room and the little details from Arkham City like the ornate double doors, but the artists could’ve done more to show us what Arkham looks like today. They could’ve gone in 2 directions: made Arkham extra dilapidated after the events of the previous video game and had dead plants and cracked earth OR they could’ve had an Arkham totally renovated to fit the needs of a technologically advanced mercenary group. Instead the backdrop was utterly wasted.

Two-Face finds the blueprints, takes some pictures on a digital camera (suddenly he’s smart) and then tosses the original prints in the fireplace when Catwoman shows up. Catwoman dives in to save the prints even though she saw Two-Face take the pictures with his camera. You’d think if she could turn her TV off with the crack of a whip in the first issue then she could use the same skill to retrieve the camera from Harvey.

This issue is an improvement over the last, but it’s still struggling to find its footing. Luckily, by issue #3 this story finds its rhythm and we get a fantastic fight scene. But again, it’s issue #4 where this series really takes off and that’s also where writer Derek Fridolfs really takes the reins. The series opening 3-part story arc with Catwoman and Two-Face was written by Paul Crocker, Derek Fridolfs, Marly Halpern-Graser, and Sefton Hill…does sound like there’s too many cooks in the kitchen for a 10 page comic? Especially for a story arc that’s pretty well covered in the interview tapes you find throughout the Arkham City video game.

Worth a Buck?

No. Go buy a small Frosty. When was the last time you had one of those?