Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 Review

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 Review

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 Review

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" - Freud

Written by: Dan Watters
Art by: Dani, Dave Stewart, and Aditya Bidikar
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 7, 2021

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 crosses paths with the next A-Day survivor, Solomon Grundy. When Dr. Joy reluctantly follows the Ten Eyed Man on his quest to contain the evil of Arkham with a ritual that requires elements from Gotham's distant past, she discovers Ten Eyed Man can decipher Grundy's rantings just in time for a visit by Azrael.

Was It Good?

I'm struggling to figure out whether or not this series works. Watters has shifted the narrative to an A-Day Arkham escapee-of-the-month model that further cements Dr. Joy's belief that the Ten eyed man's "map" is the real deal. However, the concept of Gotham acting as an extrusion of Arkham Asylum where each inmate is hiding in the part of the city corresponding to where their room would have been is a creative, inventive idea. It gives the Ten Eyed Man a hint of mystical interest, and it allows Dr. Joy to question her clinical skepticism on her way to becoming a believer.

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 Review

That's all well and good, but to get there, you have to wade through tons of double-meaning, misdirection, and subtext layered on subtext. Watters layers in symbolism and subtext to build out a good mystery as to who (or what) is the ghost of Amadeus Arkham, but there's so much of it, you wind up having to overthink and triple-analyze nearly every panel to make sure you "get it". Frankly, it gets tiresome to constantly re-check and re-think everything you're reading. So much so that you can't just relax and enjoy the story.

In other words, Watters is trying so hard to convince you that nothing is as it seems that the story is getting lost in its mystery.

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 Review

There's plenty of elements to like in this issue. Ten Eyed Man's conversation with Solomon Grundy is fascinating, the backstory of Gotham from when settlers first arrived is equally fascinating, and the gruesome scavenger hunt with the trio of Dr. Joy, ten Eyed man, and Solomon Grundy is just bizarre enough to be interesting all on its own.

The elements make this series a captivating side adventure for Gotham city. Still, it would serve the title better to avoid making it more complicated and overly symbolic than it already is.

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 Review

The art by Dani is... okay. I mentioned in the last review that Dani's art style looks similar to a less-refined Frank Miller. Lots of thick, black lines. Lots of shadows. Oddly exaggerated anatomies. It's an acquired taste, so it may or may not be for you.

Bits and Pieces

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 has a plethora of cool concepts and ideas, but the story is getting weighed down by volumes of subtext and double meaning in every scene. While the backstory on Gotham's origin and what it means for Ten Eyed Man's ritual is fascinating, the pacing and constant injection of symbolism, double-meanings, and red herrings drag the energy down.


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