ARKHAM MANOR #1
Author: Matt Grazel
November 15, 2014

SYNOPSIS: When catastrophe strikes Arkham Asylum, where will Gotham City house the world’s most dangerous criminals, and when inmates are found murdered, what is Batman prepared to do in search of justice? Arkham’s madness comes home in ARKHAM MANOR! A bold new series brought to you by the mad minds of Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, Nova) and Shawn Crystal (Deadpool, Wolverine and the X-Men).

If you’re like me and you have not been reading the weekly series, Batman Eternal, you do not need to read that title to understand what the plot of the new Arkham Manor comic book is. Writer Gerry Duggan does exceptional work in issue #1 in establishing the plot for the new ongoing title.

Shawn Crystal’s artwork and Dave McCaig’s colors give the impression that Arkham Manor will feature primarily dark panels based upon the first issue. The majority of the art is featured in dim areas or at night. Since this is a Batman title, there would be a fair amount of darkness to be expected in the artwork but the vast amount of darkened colors caught my eye in this issue. The thought provoking cover by Crystal and McCaig gives a good indication that this new title will be a shady visual experience for readers.

As with many first issues of comic book storylines, Arkham Manor #1 is no different in implementing the tone of the story and leaving readers anticipating what will occur next. Even though the Arkham inmates are locked in Bruce Wayne’s home, there is still crime occurring and the victims are located at what is now referred to as Arkham Manor.

Bruce believes having his home transformed into the new location for the Arkham inmates is the best option as the inmates were staying in an outdoor stadium. The citizens of Gotham were uneasy and the mayor wanted to rid himself of this issue. Even though his father would have likely made the same decision as Bruce if Gotham were in a state of crisis as it is now, Bruce notices Alfred is not pleased with what has happened. Bruce realizes that Wayne Manor is just as much as Alfred’s home as it is his own.

Duggan writes a story that matches the tone set by Crystal’s artwork and McCaig’s colors. The character, Jack Shaw, offers plenty of curiosity in how Shaw and Batman will coexist based on the solicitations of the next couple issues of this new title.

Arkham Manor is an appealing title and worth reading if you are looking to follow a creative new Batman title with an interesting concept. The idea of Wayne Manor being called Arkham Manor is intriguing on its own. The creative team is off to a fine start with this first issue. – Matt Grazel

GRADE: A-


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