Review by Karl Verhoven
Originally released as online digital comics, Arkham Unhinged is an anthology title tying into the successful X-Box game Arkham City, much in the same manner as the earlier anthology named after the game.
Whereas Arkham City was a prelude to events in the game, this first volume of Arkham Unhinged takes place after the old area of Gotham has been sealed off, yet before all the required personnel have been deposited within. It’s been established in Arkham City that Professor Hugo Strange has been placed in charge of the experiment, and here it’s noted his troops have been given pretty well carte blanche to operate throughout the city. “He’s looking for any excuse to tie you to the criminal element”, Commissioner Gordon warns Batman, “so be careful with the company you keep.”
A considerable number of people collaborate on the writing of the opening chapters, with Derek Fridolfs seemingly scripting the in-game moments plotted by Marly Halpern-Glaser, but fellow game credits Paul Crocker and Sefton Hill also feature. Beyond the first story of Catwoman and Two-Face, Fridolfs devises the plots as well.
There are no problems on the art front, with everyone involved very good indeed. The opening tale is the work of Mike S. Miller, with an attractive style emphasising strong images of Batman, Catwoman and Two-Face. Some might consider his version of Catwoman over-sexualised, though. Brian Ching’s work is on a story of Batman tracking down information, while Simon Coleby illustrates the Penguin’s reminiscing about the day the Joker turned up at his club. That’s followed by the fantastic Insane Parade through the city. The most decorative work is provided by Juan José Ryp, although the downside of his detail is very static figures. That’s not a problem for Pete Woods, whose pages involve a number of well-rendered alternative Batmen.
For those who care about such matters, as this ties in with the computer game there are some variations when it comes to established Batman lore. This Penguin, for instance, is British, and relatively well scripted as such by Fridolfs.
Nothing here is revolutionary or innovative, but those who enjoy slightly better than average Batman tales to pass the time are recommended this rather than the disappointing Arkham City. The story continues in Vol 2.