Review: Grim And Gritty ‘Arkham City’ #2

by Olly MacNamee


Another grim and gritty instalment of ‘Arkham City’ as we trawl the streets of Gotham City and drop in on criminals, cops and the interesting Doctor Jocasta Joy.


Dan Watters and Dani continue to expand the crackpots of Gotham City in Arkham City #2 with Doctor Jocasta Joy not the only one keeping a lunatic villain hidden away. Although she hasn’t got here escaped Arkham inmate locked up in chains and stuck in a cellar. 

In this second issue the focus moves to Doctor Double X, another hokey old-school Batman villain who you simply cannot help feeling sorry for in his current incarcerated condition. A local drug dealer having swapped selling on illegal high for an altogether more trippy experience. Watters and Dani injecting this particular opening scene  – through a combination of script and dark, shadow- soaked artwork – with a creepy sense of horror.

Having been a large part of 2000 AD for a good few years now, Dani has a keen eye for black and white composition, with a great mastery of negative space. This would work equally well in black and white, maybe even more so. But, that would be doing a disservice to colour artist, Dave Stewart, and what he brings to the issue. And the scene in which Azrael is introduced shows what a good eye for colour composition can bring to the party. The reds of his costume shout out against the dark background of a suitably gothic church.

Add to this the lettering work of award winning Aditya Bidikar, who captures the essence of a character through his skilled font choices and speech balloon designs, and it’s a potent mix.

And while I have already mentioned the inevitable comparisons to Frank Miller’s work on Sin City, there’s also a little bit of a feel of David Mazzucchelli’s  world on Batman: Year One too, intentional or otherwise. A mixture of gritty ‘70s kitchen-sink cop films with a spruce of horror too. All adding up to a psychological, somewhat supernatural feeling series that adds a further level of grim to an already grim Gotham. And out now from DC Comics.

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