Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is a Batman graphic novel written by Grant Morrison with art by Dave McKean. Most Batman comics are detective stories, but this one is more like a horror story. It’s April Fools Day and the Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum and threatens to kill staff members unless Batman shows up. Batman is a little reluctant to go because he’s worried that he might actually be crazy and going to Arkham would be like going home. But Batman goes anyway because he’s Batman and that’s what he does. Once he’s there, the Joker gives him a chance to escape the asylum, but it’s kind of hard because all the inmates are loose. The Batman has to fight foes like Two-Face, Killer Croc, the Scarecrow, Clayface, and a few others in order to survive. But he’s also battling his inner demons too, so there are internal and external conflicts going on.
The story is pretty solid but Dave McKean’s art takes it to a new level. It’s very dark, gothic, and chilling. It’s the perfect style for a story that takes place in a prison for crazy people. It’s also important how the words look on the page. Lettering is one of the most underrated and often overlooked aspects of comics. Letterer Gaspar Saldino’s work is definitely noticeable in this comic. He gave each character a distinctive font that matches their personality. It’s hard to put down this comic. It’s one of the most visually exciting comic book experiences that you will ever have. You’re not a Batman fan if you’ve never read this book.
Critically Rated at 15/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young