Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Arkham City: The Order Of The World #1 Review

When Everything Is Dark, There's No Light to Provide Direction

Written By: Dan Watters
Art By: Dani
Colors By: Dave Stewart
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date; October 5, 2021

Arkham City: The Order Of The World #1 wonders aloud what Gotham citizens and law enforcement officials go through when Arkham's most dangerous criminals roam free without intervention from Batman or any other hero. The results are violent, brutal, dark, and sometimes gut-churning.

What's It About?

The blurb says it all. A-day happened. A lot of people died. An unsavory collection of dangerous Arkham Asylum inmates escaped. Regular, ordinary, everyday people are getting hurt or dying because crazies are on the loose, so what choice does one of the surviving criminal psychologists have left except try to find them and help them.

The tone feels a lot like David Fincher's Seven. The story has a dark, grounded edge that may appeal to readers looking for something more realistic when it comes to escaped lunatic stories. How does the GCPD cope with costumed crazies running around?

Where this story differs from almost every other Gotham-based book is the lack of counter-balance. This story is either holding off on introducing Batman or flat-out treats the material as if there is no Batman. There's no spark of hope or bat-symbol at the end of the tunnel. So far, this is a Batman's rogues gallery story without the Batman (with the conceit that he may be introduced later), and it makes for a dark, depressing, and frequently terrifying place.

Central to the grim darkness is Dr. Jacosta Joy, a criminal psychologist who happened to be on a vacation day when A-Day commenced. Her take on the purpose and effectiveness of criminal psychology is oddly sober in that she believes the best you can do is try to keep the criminally insane pointed in the right direction. A cure is a pipe dream in most cases. I like this Dr. Joy character, although the ending suggests the good doctor may have allowed her altruism to make some really unsafe choices.

If it sounds like I'm jumping around to describe this story, that's because the point of this story isn't very clear. Is it about Dr. Joy's quest to get escaped inmates the help she believes they need? Is it about (a version of) the Ten Eyed Man, who has Dr. Joy's personal attention? Is it a police procedural tracking down an eclectic collection of costumed criminals before they kill (and in some cases, eat) people? Is it about Azrael or at least someone who might be Azrael, stalking the sewers to put a permanent end to the escapees?

In short, the major down point of this issue is its lack of focus? It's dark. Okay, cool. Now what? We'll see if Watters can help readers figure it out in issue #2.

Bits and Pieces

Arkham City: The Order Of The World #1 is David Fincher's Seven in a Gotham City without a Batman. How does a city cope when Arkham inmates are on the loose and only the GCPD and one criminal psychologist are on the job to stop/save them? It's too early to tell if this is an entertaining read, but it's certainly a dark one.


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