The issue with comics is that the quality always changes depending on which timeline and creators they use. This is why I never got around to reading any Batman comics until recently, and it just proved my point. While Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth was a chilling and fascinating story with just a few issues I’d like to fix, Batman: The Dark Knight, Vol. 1: Knight Terrors was more of a mess with a few almost redeeming qualities.
Arkham Asylum follows Batman into Arkham Asylum, which the Joker has taken over. Even I have seen this plot before, so it can’t be too original. What saves it, however, is that it also introduces the history of Amadeus Arkham, who set up the Asylum. Knight Terrors also includes the Asylum as inmates escape and are apparently filled with a drug that makes them animalistic. There are no large plot twists in either if you have little interest in the comics. However, they are both simple sweet stories you can probably read within half an hour.
Artistry is probably the main reason why I preferred Arkham Asylum to Knight Terror. Arkham Asylum has a sketchy dark tone to it. It fits the situation perfectly and gives the comic the creepy vibe it needed. There are one or two sections that are hard to read, but most of it is eligible, so props to artist Dave McKean. Knight Terrors on the other hand is just a bit too generic for me. Yes, it is clean and crisp, but there is nothing that blew me away. The muscular characters were grotesque, but not grotesque in an interesting way. Also, Knight Terror introduced the White Rabbit. Just look at her.
Now, I’m all for female characters embracing their sexuality, but she looks like the product of a teenager’s wet dream. Hopefully she becomes more than just a sex symbol in other comics.
A common trend between both comics is their representation of the lead character – Bruce Wayne. He isn’t a brooding non-compassionate individual I have come to expect, as he genuinely cares about people, including the villains. In Arkham Asylum, he focuses on Harvey Dent and in Knight Terror, he assists Poison Ivy… for a few panels. However, the latter had a lovely interaction scene between Bruce Wayne and Alfred which is the best part of the whole comic. Watching Bruce Wayne be a considerate human being was probably the only part which made me invested in the story.
Apart from the White Rabbit, most of the characters are fine. The issue was that they weren’t used to the full effect. There was a Mad Hatter character in Arkham Asylum, but nothing was really done with him. The same thing can be said with the Justice League in Knight’s Terror. Honestly, I have a slight issue with the representation of the Joker, but that’s because he was less Mark Hamill and more Heath Ledger. You can be free to disagree. Even though I don’t have major complaints, not a lot of characters were memorable.
If I had to recommend one of the comics, it would definitely be Arkham Asylum. It’s creepy and interesting while revealing information about the DC world. This one is worth 8.1/10. Knight Terrors on the other hand is just mediocre with a tad of confusion, so I have to give it 5/10.
Discussion Point: What’s your opinion of Batman?