The second part of DC’s prequel series to Rocksteady’s upcoming blockbuster game Arkham Knight improves on its predecessor’s success and gets the momentum rolling in every way.
The story begins with the filming of Joker’s last will and testament video. The writing here is absolutely spot on, as I couldn’t get Mark Hamill’s voice out of my head. The staff truly understands the characters and how they relate, what they think. Each line was carefully constructed and more hilarious than the last. There were a few references that were out of the park. One in particular reminded me of Joker’s reference to ABC’s Lost during Arkham City’s campaign: “You know how everyone over 60 remembers where they were when Kennedy was shot? Or when Jeter hit his 3,000th hit?” This brings to the surface the constant light-hearted debate of whether or not Gotham is a place in the real United States or a fictional one.
The theme that Arkham Knight is clearly going to focus on (at least in the prequel) is the relationship between Joker and Batman and how Batman will live day-to-day without him. One of the greatest stories and dynamics in Gotham is the relationship between these two and Rocksteady and DC are wise to play this angle up.
Elsewhere, we see Jim Gordon calling for help, as he has been poisoned by some of Joker’s Toxin. Gordon goes into an uncontrollable laughing rage, with his face twisting slowly into a permanent smile. This pushes Batman into a desperate search for some more of the antidote witnessed in Arkham City. Since Joker is gone, who better to talk to than Harley Quinn? Batman races to find her and drags her back into Arkham City, where Quinn leads him to the place where she and Joker set up shop. Quinn plays up the angle that she wants to be normal again, that she wants to feel like Harleen Quinzel now that Joker is gone.
If you weren’t aware, Quinn was actually a doctor at Arkham before being persuaded to insanity by Joker, a patient of hers. I highly recommend you get your hands on Batman: The Animated Series and watch the episode entitled “Mad Love.” Airing during its fourth season, this is the best origin of Quinn’s dissent into madness. The game Arkham Origins does plant this seed with a different perspective, but The Animated Series’ version is phenomenal. You can read up a little more on Harley here.
Of course, Quinn was playing Batman, leading him to a trap in which Killer Croc is waiting to pounce. This leads to an exciting battle, ended by Batman using some of the freeze technology Mr. Freeze lent him in Arkham City. Oh, and they saved just enough antidote to help Gordon. All-in-all, a successful night.
Behind the scenes, Quinn meets up with Penguin, who is still searching for Scarecrow. Lets just say sparks fly. This is an interesting subplot that will inevitably be the beginning of the alliance between some of Batman’s greatest villains.
I am a huge Harley Quinn fan, so naturally I was stoked to see her on the cover of the comic. She is an extension of Joker, but perhaps an alternate side as well. She is psychotic, sexy, and always fun to watch (or read about). I love the amount of play that Joker is getting and I hope it continues on into Part 3. I love the in-depth coverage of the alliance that is forming and the committee to find Scarecrow. When I read this story, I felt like I was watching an episode of The Animated Series set between Arkham games.
DC’s Arkham Knight is possibly my new favorite comic series. The dialogue, the action, in fact all-of-the-above are written so precisely, I am getting more excited by the minute as I anticipate the next entry in the comic series, let alone the game.
+ Harley Quinn and Joker focus.
+ Well illustrated action sequence.
+ Feels like an episode of the highly respected Batman: The Animated Series. I can hear Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill’s voices as Batman and The Joker speak respectively.
Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s Senior Editor and resident Arkham historian. He is counting down the days until Arkham Knight releases.
Check out our review of Batman: Arkham Knight #1 below:
Batman: Arkham Knight #1