ARKHAM MANOR #2 Author: Matt Grazel
December 7, 2014
SYNOPSIS: When Batman goes undercover in Arkham Manor, we learn just how important inmate Jack Shaw is to his mission.
At first, it was unclear (at least to me) who Jack Shaw is in this new on-going series. After rereading Arkham Manor #1 followed by reading issue #2, it is clear who and what Jack Shaw’s purpose is. Bruce Wayne has used the deceased person’s name in order to infiltrate Arkham Manor as a prisoner. Bruce was able to do that because Shaw was a homeless veteran whose fingerprints could not be identified by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Bruce had used the identity of Matches Malone before to go undercover in dealing with the criminal underworld and Duggan mentions what the agenda of the Matches Malone character was in this issue.
Bruce is attempting to solve the murders that occurred in issue #1 but as Jack Shaw instead of Batman. During a group therapy session, Eric Border reveals to Dr. Arkham that Victor Zsasz is missing. As Shaw, Bruce maintains his detective skills while staying occupied with performing labor in Arkham Manor.
Bruce is having his share of challenges as a prisoner in Arkham Manor because his original plan for how long he wants to be an inmate continues to be prolonged in the issue.
Before he escapes, Shaw sees another murder occur and fights off two security guards in order to get to Seth Wickham’s cell who is the victim of the latest murder at Arkham Manor. Shaw realizes Zsasz is located in the victim’s holding cell. Security intervenes and attacks Shaw, which allows time for Zsasz to escape. After recovering momentarily from his concussion symptoms, Shaw explains to Border that Zsasz was in Wickham’s room but Border responds by telling Shaw that Wickham’s cell is empty.
Writer Gerry Duggan has given Bruce Wayne new challenges in living a life with more than one identity. Bruce is having his share of difficulties as Jack Shaw and trying to solve murders without having the luxury of being Batman as in this issue. Chapter two of “A Home For The Criminally Insane” ponders the point of view that Bruce may be overwhelmed, as it appears he indeed is. The art by Shawn Crystal and colors by Dave McCaig accompany Duggan’s writing well in this mysterious story of murder. – Matt Grazel