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Saturday, August 14, 2010

BATMAN : Shadow of the BAT : The Last Arkham #1 #2 #3 #4 Review TPB

RATING 4.5 out 5

Fantastic. This is a  very good straight forward Batman story. It dives in the world of Arkham Asylum and Breyfogle's art is a wonderful fit to this story.  Alan Grant introduces two new characters that tickle the imagination of future writers and have a fan following of their own, Jeremiah Arkham and Mr Zsasz.  A complete story in four issues. It shows Batman at his best. A smooth fighter and great Detective, who will go to any length to stop the lunatics that roam Gotham's streets.

SPOILERS (The TPB is over 10 years old so I'll give quite a bit) and Review :

At 16 yrs old, Jeremiah Arkham, faced down a escaped Patient from Arkham Asylum, and at that moment he decided to follow in his Uncle Amadeus Arkham's footsteps.  He had the nack, or talent, of reading people, and he knew how to push their buttons.

The first issue introduces a newly remodeled  asylum, designed by Jeremiah, and it introduces us to some of it's more well known inmates: Cornelius Stirk, Everad Mallitt, The Scarcrow (Professor Johanthan Crane), Mr Zsasz,... AND lastly THE BATMAN.

   Batman has gone off the deep end, lost his mind, and killed a cop. Gordon himself had him taken to Arkham Asylum.  MY first thoughts, are.. NOOOOOOOO it's not him, or he has been framed or or or or...something else.

The orderlies want to unmask The Batman, which is not going to be a easy task. Jeremiah intercedes saying, "I will learn his secret identity. He himself will Tell me...When he 's good and ready. On the day he is cured. And when he Hands me that cowl...There will be NO MORE Batman."  This is where I slap my forehead with the palm of my hand and utter, 'Of course ...they won't remove the mask.'

How did Batman end up in Arkham Asylum?
Issue 2 tells what lead up to Batman's incarceration, and it has to do with Zsasz.
A lunatic had killed a family by slitting their throats then arranged them in a family setting.  This is the M.O. of  Mr Zsasz.  Gordon and Batman take a tour of the Arkham Asylum guided by Jeremiah, to see how Zsasz could have possibly got out.  Alan Grant gives us a grim picture of  Zsasz as he laughs coldly at Batman and shows him that he has no new tally marks on his body. What I find strange... is that the killer, is wearing a top hat and tails, and I had thought Zsasz was a Skin Head
    After leaving the asylum in a bad mood from the meeting with Zsasz, Gordon and Batman are called to yet another gruesome crime scene with the same M.O. as before.  A lieutenant makes a bad joke at the scene and Batman beats him up, causing his death.

AND so... Batman is in Arkham.

WHERE is Robin and Nightwing in all of this?
Batman tells Robin to stay out of it.
So... Robin tells... Nightwing, 
WHO doesn't believe what happened and goes to break into Arkham to breakout Batman.

This leads to  my favorite fun scene in the storyline.

Nightwing breaking into Arkham, worming  his way through the air ducts, to find Batman doing the same.
(I've cut and paste, to show the scene as best I can.)  

Batman lets Nightwing know that being committed to Arkham was his idea, so that he could get inside and find out how Zsasz got out. Gordon and the Lieutenant( who isn't dead) were in on the scheme.

This is where I sum up my review and leave you hanging, because you need to buy it for yourself.

Grant and Breyfogle have Bruce getting out of one situation after another, from the subtle, with Bruce calmly cuffing a smart ass officer with his own cuffs, to the grandiose of Bruce taking on the whole rogues gallery of lunatics at the asylum. It's a Great Batman story and it also introduces yet another sadistic killer, "Mr Zsasz", to Gotham's cast of characters.
The trade paperback (Batman: The Last Arkham) is out of print and costs a arm and a leg(About $60), but the single issues you can get cheap on ebay(About $15 or less).

BATMAN: Shadow of the BAT: The Last ARKHAM Issues #1, #2, #3, #4
Writer: Alan Grant
Artist: Norm Breyfogle
Letterer: Todd Klein
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Cover Painting: Brian Stelfreeze

Publisher: DC Comics
June, Jul, Aug, Sep, 1992


  1. What a great review. This makes me want to get out there and get the TPB now.

    Sp $60.00 you say? That is a lot of money for a 4 issue collection.

    I always enjoy your reviews. Your blog is great. It looks great too.

  2. THANKS Joeb,
    I appreciate the encouragement.

    The single issues are pretty cheap on ebay and should be able to get them under $15 including shipping.
    There was four dealers with various prices under $15 including shipping.

  3. I got the first part of four for a quarter.

  4. i have part one signed by alan grant but it is not in mint condition any idea how much that would be worth?

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