Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Batman: Arkham City #4

Cover by Carlos D'Anda
Batman: Arkham City #4 (August 3, 2011)
Writer: Paul Dini
Penciller: Carlos D’Anda
Inker: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Travis Lanham

As this series winds to an end to prepare for both the DC re-launch and the release of the upcoming video game, crucial plot elements are finally being revealed. The importance of Hugo Strange is now apparent, along with the sheer amount of danger Batman now finds himself in after his cover is blown  and he’s trapped in Arkham City.

Furthermore, the dangerous tensions between rival gang bosses the Joker and Penguin have intensified along with Quincy Sharp’s security. Therefore, this was an extremely action-packed issue with plenty of fight scenes, drawn, no doubt, to remind the reader of the brawl scenes in the Arkham Asylum videogame. Along with ordinary hand-to-hand combat, there were also plenty of trucks driving through walls, explosions and a surprise appearance by Catwoman. Quite a lot of excitement for a single issue.

It is frankly difficult to judge this issue as it is so directly related to the rest of the miniseries and the video game itself. The plotline in is the issue felt rather weak but then again, it is simply a bridge between the beginning of the series and the upcoming conclusion. While the action definitely made it gripping, I finished the comic rather indifferently.

I was pleased by the appearance of Catwoman as it obviously hints towards her involvement in the upcoming video game, which I am definitely looking forward to. Her literal appearance by D’Anda, however, left much to be desired as she looked very much like a dominatrix Lara Croft. I don’t know why I’m still always surprised whenever I’m disappointed by an artist’s rendering of Catwoman, as it occurs so often.

I was both pleased and bemused by a sequence featuring the Joker as he has his blood tested for the toxin after effects. Fans of the video game will know that the (rather disappointing and anti-climatic) conclusion featured a freakishly buff Joker overdosing on Poison Ivy’s toxin. While I was glad that this feature has not been overlooked, it is still a silly thing to me. Of course, there is quite a lot of things in the Batman universe that I consider silly but a Joker still vaguely tripping on toxin is high up there.

I suppose I shall read the last issue, mostly out of curiosity and as a fan of the video game. I hope it does not disappoint and gives a greater understanding of  the new one without whetting my appetite too much.

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