Batman: Arkham Knight is the latest digital-latest comic DC has produced. Some other notable series that followed the videogame/TV show to comic trend have been Infinite Crisis: Battle for the Multiverse, Injustice: Gods Among Us and The Flash/Arrow shows respectively. There was some worry on my part at least when this series was announced, Arkham City was such a magnificent game I didn’t want the creators to ruin anything by making a lackluster comic.
These digital-first comics are so hit or miss I think my anxiousness was warranted. Luckily though Arkham Knight got off to a great start when they announced that the extremely talented Peter Tomasi would be penning the series. Tomasi is widely recognized now for the stellar job he’s done for the Batman and Robin series, so to allow him to dive deep into a terrific Batman world such as the one in Arkham City set them up for a recipe for success.
Through the first four issues of Arkham Knight, which picks up right where the game left us, we are confronted by new and old enemies. Joker’s death is sure to spread ripples throughout the city and it’s up to Bruce Wayne and Alfred to set the city on the path to success.
Issue #1 shows us the problem that Bruce faces now with a Jokerless Gotham is one of legacy, has he done enough to make the streets safe? Safe from criminals? Maybe. Safe from a decaying economy? That’s another issue entirely. Tomasi does a great job to start us off with a Bruce Wayne who more than ever has to balance both his personas and impact the city from both angles.
Issue #2 again focuses more on Bruce’s philanthropic work with Gotham officials to construct a better future for Gotham City. Though it lacks the action that usually comes with a Batman story Tomasi delves deep into Bruce and Alfred’s thoughts about the work Batman has done and what more could be done. Beating criminals to a pulp is one thing, but getting the homeless jobs and food on the citizen’s dinner tables are another thing. Alfred is great with his told-you-so moments and really is the anchor for this story so far. But not it seems we are not completely rid of the Prince of Chaos yet as it turns out Joker had a contingency plan of his own that involves a lot of bombs and explosions.
Finally Issue #4 gives us freedom from the Joker, with his body now incinerated Tomasi has a chance to stretch his wings and really bring it in the Arkham world. He totally nails it with his Joker’s “secret origin” story, the amount of sick jokes is a testament Mark Hamill brought to the Joker persona and it seems Tomasi is really drawing from that.
Tomasi’s take on Bruce and Alfred is extremely refreshing, as an accomplished Batman writer there were certain expectations we had for him and so far he’s done his job to honor the videogame series but alludes to a go to a place we haven’t gone yet.
The Joker origin story was extremely funny, totally had a chuckle or two reading that one.
While the artwork is not horrendous, it has been a bit choppy at times. Viktor Bagdonovic has for the most part done a good job bringing Tomasi’s words to life but sometimes there is a lot of facial expressions that throw me off.
As good as Tomasi’s writing has been, there can be a bit too more exposition at some stages. Nothing to really worry about though.
Despite a few stumbles Batman: Arkham Knight has done a great job of honoring the video game series as well as bring new elements for the audience. Peter Tomasi has done a bang up job so far and this series is definitely one to look out for .