Has it really been 25 years since the release of the stupendous Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth? Hard to believe it has been so long since this outstanding piece of Batman lore was delivered to us by master storyteller Grant Morrison and comic artist supreme Dave McKean.
This classic tale is considered one of the greatest comic books of all time, garnering many awards at the time for both its dark storyline and the amazingly twisted art. It is also Grant Morrison’s first ever Batman tale, after this Morrison would go on to be one of the most prolific writers of the Caped Crusader’s adventures down the years.
It is April fools day and the insane inmates of Arkham have taken control of the asylum, in exchange for the hostages they want … the Batman, and so the Dark Knight must traverse a nightmarish journey into the twisted minds of some of Arkham’s most dangerous denizens including Poison Ivy, Two Face, the Scarecrow and of course the clown prince of crime himself … the Joker in full on demented mode. This is one of the darkest and most disturbing of all of the Batman’s adventures, taking you on a carnival ride of horror and dark wonder. Dave McKean’s artwork on this is sublime, really drawing you into the unhinged and disturbing world of maniacal Supervillains and murderers with its strange and dreamlike visual quality. Also of note is the lettering of the book by Gaspar Saladino, with each of the different characters having their very own font style, this was the very first comic to really do this and it has become a popular trait of the comics medium since.
The anniversary edition is available right now in both hardcover and softcover versions, weighing in at 216 pages in length.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 degenerate Supervillains out of 5
An omnibus hardcover collection of the 24 issue run of the Brightest Day saga was released this week, chronicling the journey of twelve resurrected heroes and villains. Brightest Day was the direct sequel to the 2009 Blackest Night crossover event, that followed Nekron as he resurrects deceased Superheroes and Villains to do his bidding in his attempt to exterminate all life from the Universe. Brightest Day begins just one day after the events of Blackest Night, with Deadman – Boston Brand and the ‘Entity’ which is an embodiment of the white light that creates life in the Universe. The twelve resurrected heroes and villains must discover the reason for their mysterious resurrection, with each character given a specific task to overcome. The series was released on a fortnightly scale between May 2010 and 2011, and included the return of classic characters such as Hawkman, Captain Boomerang, Jade and Martian Manhunter. Written by fan favourite Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi, and drawn by various artists including – Joe Prado, Ivan Reis and Ardian Syaf. This epic tome is 696 pages in length and is available right now, just don’t forget to read the Blackest Night prequel before this, comic fans. Precinct1313 Rating: 5 dead Superheroes out of 5
In June 2004 DC comics released the first issue of Identity Crisis, penned by Eisner award winning writer Brad Meltzer with interior art handled by Rags Morales, it went on to become one of their biggest ever selling mini-series. Spiralling out of previous series – Crisis on Infinite Earths, which shook up the continuity of the DC universe, this is an emotional and moving drama that deals with murder, betrayal and the eventual breakdown of relationship between the major Superheroes of the Justice League.
When Sue Dibny the wife of elasticated Superhero Elongated man is found murdered in their apartment, the Superhero community at large comes together to solve her tragic death. With Supervillain Doctor Light being the prime suspect after Green Arrow admits to the Flash and Green Lantern that Dr Light had previously raped Sue, which caused magic maestro Zatanna to wipe Light’s mind and change his personality to prevent him from ever doing this again, they go after the crazed Supervillain.
When Dr Light suddenly regains memory of this event, enraged he seemingly murders Sue Dibny in retaliation…with the Justice League closing in, Light hires super mercenary Deathstroke for protection. This makes for one of the greatest showdowns in comic history as the Justice League (sans Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman), clash with Deathstroke and end up underestimating the worlds’ most dangerous mercenary!
The subject matter of Identity Crisis is very dark and at times rather disturbing, the conflicts between the Superheroes themselves are emotionally scarring and far reaching into later comic series. This is a rollercoaster ride of a series with everything thrown at the reader, and a twist at the end that you will not see coming. Awesomely crafted by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales, both of them doing some of their greatest ever work. We also get the death of the current Robin – Tim Drake’s father, with an amazingly emotional panel of mentor Batman comforting the now orphaned teenager, paralleling his own tragic circumstances.
The Identity Crisis saga can be bought as a collected works trade paperback, and is highly recommended as one of the greatest pieces of comic-book storytelling since Watchmen or the Dark Knight Returns, and like those previous stories the content matter is very dark, so caution is advised.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Beat-Down Superheroes Out Of 5
Welcome comic fans to a new spotlight feature we call Precinct1313 recommends, here we will be focusing on particular Graphic Novels or Comics that have been highly praised by critics or well received by fans. Our first spotlight segment is devoted to the Emerald Archer – Green Arrow. In 2001, film director and writer Kevin Smith wrote a comic maxi-series about Oliver Queen’s resurrection from the dead by Hal Jordan the former Green Lantern who at this point in the DC universe had become the entity known as Parallax. Newly resurrected, Ollie goes back to his former role as Green Arrow taking on a new ward…Mia Dearden as his sidekick Speedy, he launches an investigation into his death as he seems to be missing several important key memories.
With the help of the world’s greatest detective – Batman, and a massive cast of supporting Superheroes including Black Canary, Wonder Woman and former Speedy Roy Harper, Ollie uncovers a web of intrigue, mystery and deceit that will drive him on to a literal soul searching conclusion! This deluxe hardcover of the original Quiver series will be released on August 13th, art duties are handled excellently by Phil Hester and Ande Parks and Kevin Smith shows his love and knowledge of the classic Superhero with a fantastically well written and emotionally involving tale of resurrection and redemption.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 nocked arrows out of 5