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Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on a Serious Earth

Batman’s not afraid of anything.

It’s me. I’m afraid.

I’m afraid that the Joker might be right about me. Sometimes… I question the rationality of my actions. I’m afraid that when I walk through those asylum gates… When I walk into Arkham and the doors close behind me…

It’ll be just like coming home.

– Batman explains his unease at going into Arkham Asylum to Jim Gordon

I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised to hear recently that Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum is a somewhat “divisive” book. It is, one hand, highly critically praised and the best-selling graphic-novel of all time, yet Morrison scholars are quick to describe it as “much maligned”. I’ll admit that I took my time getting around to reading it – partially due to the fact that DC refused to keep the hardcover in print – but I eventually buckled and got myself the softcover 15th Anniversary Edition. What I found was one of the most densely challenging, cleverly constructed and brilliantly gothic depictions of the Dark Knight I have ever encountered (indeed, it might even be “simply the most” rather than a safer “one of the most”). It’s beautiful, it’s dark and it’s tough – but it’s also immensely rewarding. Come with me into the Asylum.

Batman comes home…

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