Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Arkham Manor #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

Writing By: Gerry Duggan
Art By: Shawn Crystal
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 26, 2014

Know Your Role

We're back to Wayne Manor for the Criminally Insane where last issue we saw Arkham crumble and Bruce Wayne leave his life long home to see it turned into a temporary asylum for his worst enemies.  Now if that isn't a fucked up premise, I don't know what is, but to add to the fun we also see Batman hang up the cowl to go undercover in Arkham Manor to figure out who's responsible for two deaths since the inmates have been transferred in.  Let's see if our hero can keep his cool and his wits about him as he enters the lion's den and hopefully there isn't any lasting affects from him getting into his role of Jack Shaw: Criminally Insane Inmate.  I gotta say that I was really on the fence about this title after reading last month's issue, but let's go in with an open mind and see if this tale of murder and madness grabs us with this second issue.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our story begins with us being introduced to Seth Wickham, a young man that seems to be disturbed to the point where he hurts his mother and his parents see no other alternative than to have him committed.  Now this kid couldn't have worse luck than having his outburst then, because it seems that shortly after he was taken away to Arkham screaming, the facility collapsed and he was trapped underground for a long period of time.  This leading to his current delusion that he's already dead and with that line of thought I guess that none of what he's seeing is actually real to him.  We jump from this poor deluded boy's traumatic experience to a group therapy session within one of the main rooms of Wayne Manor, where Bruce Wayne in disguise as Jack Shaw must be having the most surreal experience of his life.  This part is kind of funny because Mr. Freeze is on a monitor being broadcast from his current cell which is the walk in freezer and everyone wants Jack Shaw to tell them his Batman story.  This is a story that I would of loved to hear.  What kind of story do you think Bruce Wayne would come up with about his run in with Batman?  Would it be up there with Killer Croc's from Batman TAS, "I threw a rock at him"?  All the fun and games though are put to an end when a orderly runs in telling Dr, Arkham that Victor Zsasz is missing......... Okay, so we have two murders within Arkham Manor and Zsasz is missing.  Is this an easy and directly to the point kind of mystery or do I smell a red herring?

After the group therapy session ended Bruce has to do occupational therapy where he simply paints the walls and we find out that he's actually enjoying his time there.  I actually had to lean back and laugh because Batman is finally getting the help he needs.  He's really enjoying the fact that he gets to study his enemies in their asylum habitat, but I still had to laugh.  It's at this point where a orderly brings in a catatonic John Doe and I've left stumped because Bruce figures out who this old man is and seems legitimately scared that he's there.  He actually sneaks away to call a orderly that's an ally of Batman's to warn him of who they have unmonitored in the Manor..............................and they leave it a goddamn mystery!  I want to know who this old dude who's unresponsive in a wheelchair is.  Am I just a dummy here, because not only is it left a mystery but the situation is completely over and never talked about again as soon as the orderly shows up and wheels him off.  WTF!?  

After that annoying bit, it's lights out and Bruce is locked into his cell.  Through his window he can see Seth Wickham, that disturbed young man from the beginning getting locked down for the night, but after the orderly in Seth's cell leaves Bruce looks back and sees Seth lying on the floor with blood around him.  Bruce quickly breaks out of his cell, takes down two guards and makes his way to Seth, only to find the boy taped up with a drill hole in his forehead.  

Now we have three murders and Bruce quickly discovers that the murderer is still in the room.  Bruce believes that this is Zsasz, but this killer has some sort of night vision goggles going on and he's constantly left in the darkness.  So yeah, I'm saying red herring and not Zsasz.  Before Bruce can take down the murderer and get his ass out of the loony bin, a security guard comes in and bashes him in the back of the head with his nightstick.

In the end, Bruce is taken away as the orderlies check the room and find nothing but Seth's dead body, but the final panel shows us that the killer is looking out from a vent as Bruce's character of Jack Shaw is the only suspect in a murder.  So much for his idea of a quick in and out investigation.

That's it for this issue of Arkham Manor and with the exception of me simply being annoyed that they didn't tell me who that old man in the wheelchair was, I have to say that I'm actually happy with where this murder mystery within the halls of Wayne Manor is going.  My biggest bitch last month is that I didn't like the way that Batman was drawn, but here we don't have Batman, so everything really looked great.  To my surprise this is really turning into a cool mystery story, but at this point it feels more like a mini than an ongoing series because after this mystery is solved, where do we go from there?  See you next month where we hopefully don't see Bruce getting lobotomized.

Bits and Pieces:

It sounds kind of dickly of me to say this but I'm really surprised that Arkham Manor is turning into a story that I want to read.  I wasn't really sold on the first issue but after reading this I'm on the Arkham Manor trolley and it's weird but it feels more like Detective Comics than Detective Comics does.  If you were like me and not completely sold on this series, you owe it at least another chance and I think that this issue will change your mind.  Go check it out.


No comments:

Post a Comment