Batman: Arkham City #1

Title: Batman Arkham City (Issue 1 of 5)
Release Date: May 11, 2011
Publisher: DC
Author: Paul Dini
Price: $2.99

We all knew it was coming and I’m excited to announce that issue #1 of Batman Arkham City was just released last week.  Slated to be a 5 issue story it will bridge the gap between Rocksteady’s  Batman Arkham Asylum and their highly anticipated Batman Arkham City  – scheduled for an October 18, 2010 release.  Written by Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Arkham Asylum) and illustrated by Carlos D’Anda it represents the perfect blend of anticipation for the next game while answering some of those outstanding questions that may have been nagging at you.

Picking up just moments prior to the conclusion of Arkham Asylum we begin with the epic final battle between Batman and the ‘roided-up Joker.  This time, readers of the comic will get a glimpse into the Joker’s madness.  In his mind this conflict ends with victory over the Caped Crusader.  However, it’s a short-lived fantasy.  As reality takes over, Batman deals the final blow and the Joker is re-imprisoned within the bowels of Arkham Asylum – sobbing while insanity resumes control.

Cut to 6 months later and Mayor Quincy Sharp is lobbying hard for a safer Gotham while fronting the dedication of a new City Hall.  His uncertainty in front of the camera, while questioned by Vicky Vale, finds encouragement from the inspirational words of his mysterious doctor and “friend”.  There is no doubt that Mayor Quimby is nothing short of a puppet and, through his political position, is being set up to promote what will come to be known as Arkham City – an open air prison which consumes half of Gotham and creates a war zone among the criminally insane.

Based on everything I’ve read about Batman Arkham City in the past few months it’s a safe bet that the man behind the curtain, the man pulling all the strings, is probably none other than Professor Hugo Strange.  But to what end?  Of course, it’s up to The Dark Knight to solve this puzzle over the next 4 issues in preparation for what I hope will be one of 2011’s best videogames.

In the meantime, as we all wait with anticipation, I’ve scoured the pages of this 1st issue for signs of what we might get.  Are there any clues, obvious or otherwise, that could lead to potential revelations of what the forthcoming game may actually include?

There’s little doubt that the Joker and his half-crazed trollop of a sidekick – Harley Quinn – will make an appearance at some point during the game’s campaign.  But to what degree is anyone’s guess.  Fan’s of Harvey Dent (aka Two Face) will be happy to get a glimpse of his disfigurement and derangement in this first issue and I, for one, can only hope for a larger presence when Arkham Asylum releases this Fall.

Also of note is the return of the Titan Formula – that which transformed the Joker at the end of Arkham Asylum into a hulking freak of muscle-bound terror.  I suspect that this will tie closely with the Joker’s back story as it’s more than obvious the side effects associated with Titan are disastrous.

What about “those wonderful toys”?  We all know that without his gadgets Batman doesn’t pose as much of a threat.  I can only assume that gadgetry, offensive and defensive, will play a part in the enhancements Rocksteady will demonstrate as that famous nut house evolves from an Asylum to a City.  Although not much was detailed in issue #1, I did take special note of an interesting use for Batman’s explosive gel.  In one panel he uses it to cover both his boots and gloves to provide a much needed boost to his hand-to-hand combat skills; especially against goons pumped full of Titan.  This may be a new use for an existing gadget but I’m hopeful we’ll see a number of brand new toys to play with.  I’ve still got my fingers crossed that Rocksteady will hand over the keys to the Batmobile.  It is a city after all.

I’m not a connoisseur of comics but I am a huge fan of Batman Arkham Asylum.  What I’ve seen and read so far with Batman Arkham City issue #1 is more than enough to keep me interested in what the rest of the series is sure to offer.  If you haven’t already be sure to grab a copy from your local comic book store.  It’s $2.99, what have you got to lose?

Written by Bill Braun

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