Friday, April 3, 2015

Arkham Manor: Endgame #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Frank Tieri
Art By: Felix Ruiz, Roberto Viacava, Walden Wong, Christian Duce, Nick Filardi
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 1, 2015

Once Upon A Time In Arkham

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

We've got another Endgame tie-in here and I was thinking if you were a big fan of this series, then this might be pretty cool for you.  When we left this series it seemed like it was right in the middle of Batman Eternal and since we know that this is during Endgame, you'll get to see what the Manor has been up to since all that time has passed............ I don't know, I'm trying to find a way to make this interesting......... Is it working?  Let's jump into this story and find out what the Manor has to do with Joker playing his final game.

Explain It!:

Our Arkham Endgame tie-in begins with me realizing that the tax dollars in Gotham are being really underutilized.  You see, instead of Harvey Bullock being out and about trying to get a handle on this joker outbreak that has taken the city by storm, he's back at the GCPD interviewing a guy named Stone, who used to work as muscle for the Penguin once upon a time and after serving a stretch at Black Gate, he's cleaned up his act and works at the Manor as a guard.  Bullock wants to hear his story about what went down at Arkham and we dive into Stone's flashback.  It started as any other night in Arkham, when out of nowhere the power went out and when it returned a second later, Stone and another guard found themselves face to face with The Joker.  After the Clown Prince of Crime releases some gas, we see that the power was cut for a reason and that reason was to release all the patients and now the Manor is being overrun by jokerized patients....... and the other guard is quickly sliced and diced.  Stone would have met the same fate, but he found some unlikely saviors.  Bane, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze and Clayface want to use this riot as a chance to get the hell out of dodge and they protect Stone from the crazed horde so that they might use him for their escape.

It's very odd and even Bullock interrupts Stone's recollection of the events to point out how strange it is that these big bads and even Stone himself weren't affected by The Joker's toxin and Stone has no idea.  All he says is that some of the staff and patients simply weren't infected and he chalked up the big villains as being immune due to all the chemicals that have altered their bodies over the years.  So we move on and while I thought we might get a callback to characters like "The Spider" or Seth Wickham, what we get is Bullock accusing Stone of working with The Penguin so that he could make a big play during the chaos on the streets and back in the Manor we have the altered Clayface doppelganger: Clownface trying to stop our group from escaping the Manor.  Well, Clayface doesn't abide.  He takes on the jokerized monster as the rest of our group try to escape but right when they think they've made their way out, The Joker and a horde of crazies come out of nowhere and block their path.

In the end, Stone has had enough of The Joker toying with them and decks him.  It's at this point that we see the wig fall off and that this Joker is simply an impostor.  It turns out that Dr. Arkham has finally cracked and took on the clown's persona.  How he managed to jokerize everyone, I don't know but right as the crazies are about to attack, the GCPD come in and save the day.  Stone gets questioned by Bullock and the band of villains that were protecting him throughout this story somehow escaped custody.  As our issue closes, we see Dr. Arkham locked up and outside the window of his cell, the inverted Bat Signal hangs in the sky.

That's it for this Endgame tie-in and even though I find it hard to really invest myself into these so called tie-ins, this wasn't bad. We've got a new creative team that came in for this so that DC could squeeze a little extra juice out of the Arkham Manor title and it actually works.  We left Arkham Manor knowing that Jeremiah Arkham was on the verge of loosing his marbles and Frank Tieri came in to write not only a Endgame tie-in but an Arkham Manor aftermath showing us how far Dr. Arkham has slid down the crazy slide.  We've got a bunch of artists on this book and even though the beginning felt really rough, by the end I was really digging the look of the book.  So yeah, not a bad tie-in, I just wish that we could have delved more into Seth Wickham or The Spider because those two seemed to be what Arkham Manor was really about.

Bits and Pieces:

Arkham Manor Endgame does a capable job in delivering both an Endgame tie-in and an Arkham Manor epilogue.  While I wish that this would have had more to do with characters that were featured in Arkham Manor, Frank Tieri writes a fun escape story that is jam packed with Rogues galore.  The book suffers a bit due to many artists, but by the end I really got into it.  Finish up your Arkham Manor story and get yourself a different perspective on what's going down during Endgame with this issue.

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  1. So wait, Jokerface and Clayface were different people? I thought Jokerface was Clayface being Jokerized. Does that mean that there are two of em?
    And does that mean that the one in Batwoman might have been a third one? O.o

    1. In Arkham Manor, Clownface was a piece of Clayface that had been left behind, that's why in Arkham he just looked like a catatonic man. I don't know how Joker changed it and got it to do things but yes this is a different clay monster than Clayface. As for Batwoman, I believe that one to be the regular Basil Karlo just with his memory gone.


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