Batman: Arkham Asylum- A Serious House on Serious Earth
Author Grant Morrison, Illustrations Dave McKean
Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison is largely considered to be a Batman classic. I always see it pop up on reading guides and “must read” lists. I see a lot of Grant Morrison make these kinds of lists actuallly, and I’m always reminded that I don’t like Grant Morrison.
Grant Morrison’s style is usually one of two things. It’s either super edgy, loaded with cursing and insulting dialogue, along with in your face adult themes. Or it’s the bloated and wordy poetry a goth kid writes in high school when they’re trying to out angst their friends. Batman: Arkham Asylum is the latter.
This book is insufferable to read. It has very little plot and very little dialogue. It mostly contains text boxes filled with sophomoric philosphy and musings that would maybe impress a depressed teen or a severely inebriated adult.
The dialogue it does have is typically from the Joker but written in an awful jagged red font that becomes incredibly difficult to read. Please don’t ever rely on style over substance! Yes I see that Joker is extreme with his font, but I still need to be able to read the words!
The basic premise of the book is that Joker wants to get Batman committed to Arkham so he takes a hostage to bait him. Batman essentially says hey I’m gonna rescue this hostage but I literally have no reason to stay in Arkham and no one is going to make me so I’m just gonna head out k byeee. That’s it. That’s the book.
It contributes nothing to either character or the DC canon at large. It’s basically a throwaway but people get tricked into thinking it’s great for two reasons. One, the art is spectacular. Let’s give some credit to Dave McKean because he’s the only reason this isn’t a 1 star book. The art is truly awesome.
Two, Morrison has that style of writing that sounds good. His prose has a flow to it that can hypnotise many a reader. But I’m not buying it. When you actually start to think about it and actually look at the words instead of just the feeling of the run on sentences you realize Morrison is a hack.
Unfortunately for all of us, people are tricked by him and since he does bring in sales he consistently gets paired up with amazing artists who fool readers even more. Well, I’m glad I saw the pretty art but I wish I had just skipped any of the words on this one.
2/5 bats 🦇🦇
Instead of Batman: Arkham Asylum read Batman: The Three Jokers
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Buy it here: Batman: Arkham Asylum New Edition
5 thoughts on “Batman: Arkham Asylum, Comic Book Review”
Morrison can write in straightforward prose when he chooses to. Animal Man or All-Star Superman are good examples of that.
Well, you’re not the first person to think Morrison is overrated, LOL. Strangely, I haven’t read much of his stuff, but some of it (Doom Patrol, Animal Man) doesn’t appeal to me at all; it sounds like what you said about Arkham “style over substance” or maybe “weird for the sake of weird”, which I never liked. I’ve heard good things about his All-Star Superman and fairly positive reviews of X-Men and JLA stuff, but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet.
I am kinda intrigued by Invisibles; the premise sounds cool (I love all that crazy faux-conspiracy stuff). Have you read any Invisibles? Would you recommend it?
I haven’t read the invisibles. Animal Man actually is on my list to read, maybe that one could be the winner lol
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