Our story begins where Arkham City left off. The Joker is carried out by Batman… dead. Gordon demands to know what happened, but the Dark Knight has no answers. He leaves, and heads home. Arkham City is closed. Alfred is relieved that Bruce can finally get some rest, until Batman is suddenly electrocuted. The Electrocutioner stands before Batman. The original villain died years ago, so a new version of the villain has taken the powerful gloves for himself. New and improved, he attacks Batman, only for Bruce to easily turn the tables on his attacker. The Dark Knight freezes the Electrocutioner’s head, and punches him, shattering the ice and knocking the villain out cold.
Batman contacts Oracle and informs her that yet another criminal will need to be picked up. Bruce leaves to get some much needed rest, while the Electrocutioner stirs. He is woken up by a voice. “The Bat has won this night across Gotham as he has so many others by knowing how to use fear. He leaves you alive and too scared to move – to frightened to breathe his name. It’s his greatest power. But soon he’ll face an enemy he can’t frighten. Someone that knows him too well to hide from the obvious, broken man he’s become. And as I strike, men like you will believe we are on the same side. But you’ll be wrong. Because I know just how meaningless the rest of your lives really are to this whole story. That is my power.”
As Batman rests and heals up from the traumatic events in Arkham City, he and Alfred discuss Gotham being restored. The butler points out that for all Batman does to keep the city safe at night, it also needs Bruce Wayne to give it hope during the day. Meanwhile, in the city morgue, the autopsy of the Joker begins. The doctors find a fake layer of skin on the corpse, which is hiding a USB drive… and some of the Joker toxin. The gas spreads and the doctors are soon dead, while the USB is revealed to contain a friendly note that it is not to be opened until Christmas.
The Penguin dismisses the video, saying the Joker always had some scheme up his sleeve, and sets about moving forward. Arkham City was a good deal while it was going, but too many eyes are on them now, and it’s time to move forward. He sets his sights on the Scarecrow and Wayne Enterprises, while the Joker states that whoever gives his body to Harley Quinn will be rewarded $100 million.
Batman meanwhile gets a unique message from the Joker, instructing him to travel to the old Arkham Asylum. This is a trap, designed to take down the Dark Knight once and for all. The Arkham Knight appears, and, wanting to kill Batman on his own terms, attempts to rescue his enemy. He is unsuccessful, and the original Arkham as well as the Batmobile are both destroyed. But the mysterious figure does manage to find the Joker’s diary. Perhaps the night is not a total loss…
Batman survives the Joker’s trap, and he goes to visit Gordon. To prevent others from stealing the Joker’s corpse, the two men have the body cremated. Batman is given the USB which is revealed to contain the Last Will and Testament of the Joker. The will begins with the Joker admitting that things in Arkham City must have not gone so well for the clown. It’s no surprise really. Between the Titan formula, the many different villains ,and Batman, it’s pretty clear the Joker’s days were numbered.
The Joker is pretty sure this is going to be his last message to Batman, so he wants to make it count. He tells a version of his origin story which satirically combines the history of both Superman and Batman. On camera, he kills an Arkham guard, while the clown discusses some finer points of his philosophy. He eventually reaches his will. The Joker has one final gift for Gotham – a bomb. But this is no regular bomb, it will be far more subtle, or as the Joker puts it – “silent, but deadly.” Batman finishes watching the video, but before he can do anything about it, he gets a call from Gordon. Somehow, the Joker got to the commissioner, who is unable to stifle a giggle.
Gordon succumbs to the effects of the Toxin, but luckily Batman is there in mere moments. The other police have a mixed reaction, as one recognizes the Dark Knight as their only chance to save Gordon, while another panics and pulls his gun on the vigilante. Batman doesn’t have time for this, and in the end, he simply grabs Gordon and leaves.
His next stop is to Blackgate Prison, currently being rebuilt and restored enough to house prisoners once more. Batman breaks into Harley’s cell, and kidnaps the Joker’s long time companion. She is bemused at Batman’s plight and mentions that she is eager to take her revenge on Batman, but he’s not interested in her usual nonsense. They travel to Arkham City and Batman breaks into the Joker’s old headquarters. The hero knows that somewhere in this mess is the cure to the Joker’s poison. Batman says if there is any humanity left in Harley, she’ll help him find the cure.
Harley suddenly changes her tone and admits Batman is right. She seems remorseful, but Batman has no idea if she is being sincere. Quinn tells the detective that the anti-toxin is down in the sub-basement, and swears she is telling the truth. Batman sets off, while Harley uses this opportunity to break free. In the sub-basement, Batman finds a substance labelled “Joker’s special sauce,” while Killer Croc looms behind him.
The monster attacks the detective, easily overpowering him and tearing apart his utility belt. He mockingly chows down on Batman’s gadgets and begins to smash the cure samples, until help arrives. Police officer Aaron Cash arrives and distracts Killer Croc long enough for Batman to use his last charge of his Ice Blasts to freeze the monster. Together, the two men are able to cure Gordon and save the commissioner.
Meanwhile, the Penguin is unable to find Scarecrow, but he does get an unexpected visitor. Harley Quinn arrives and states she probably just got Batman and Gordon killed. She claims that even if they aren’t, Quinn still has many of Joker’s old toys hidden all over Gotham. The city is changing, but there is still room for those who know the right people, and she offers to work with the Penguin as partners.
In the streets of Gotham, the Arkham Knight is battling criminals. He takes a page from the Joker’s diary, and says it is nothing but a sick list of all his victims. He stuff the page into one of the crook’s mouths, and lights the two men on fire. The next day, Bruce delivers a speech commemorating a project that will rebuild the area of Gotham lost to Arkham City. The speech goes well, and Batman thanks the Simon Stagg, a wealthy man with no direct ties to the city who has agreed to help restore Gotham. Stagg is grateful, and introduces Bruce to his daughter, Sapphire. Bruce also encounters Jim Gordon, and he vows to help fund the police department which was also decimated during the events of Arkham City.
Suddenly, a group of armed criminals attack the event. They go after Bruce, but they are no match against him. Wayne flees to get his gear, while Lucius is attacked by Harley Quinn. Luckily Bruce returns in time, geared up as Batman, and rescues his friend. Quinn escapes, and reveals to the Penguin that she managed to steal Lucius’ tablet… and a finger so they can bypass its biometric security system.
Lucius insists he is fine and that the tablet was locked out before the villains could make use of it. Meanwhile, two of Penguin’s henchmen finally find the Scarecrow, only for both of them to be captured as they fall victim to his fear gas. It is also revealed that Bane is alive and well, and a small group of men have found some Venom that they will use to return the villain to his full power.
After Lucius gets his finger replaced with an advanced prosthetic, he and Bruce travel to Germany in order to meet a contact who will be building a new version of the Batmobile. During this time, the Penguin is surprised to find his henchmen have returned, but the Scarecrow has left them gruesomely disfigured and with a message to deliver to Cobblepot. The villains were unable to access much out of the tablet, but they did manage to get something – a date, and a location. The Penguin has no idea what the significance of this information is, but decides that in any case, they should arrange for a visit. He orders Harley to contact the Tweedle brothers, as he has a mission for them…
At the meeting site, Bruce and Lucius wait for the delivery of the new Batmobile. But the Tweedle brothers are on the scene, and nearly hijack the delivery mid-air. Batman arrives to stop them, and the brothers are please to announce their newest member – their youngest and best cousin – Tweedle Die. The new member is powerful and nearly takes down Batman, until the Dark Knight detonates some of his explosive gel. This blows a hole in the shipping container, and while Tweedle Dum thinks they might both be dead, they are soon corrected as a fiery, new Batmobile emerges and safely lands on a roof. Batman launches himself onto the Tweedle bothers’ helicopter, and both blame one another. Bruce knocks them out, and Alfred asks how he’s supposed to get the new car off of a roof. Batman says he’ll use the helicopter, but this might be a good reason to invest in some modifications of the Batwing…
Batman drops off the three Tweedles, which surprises the officers he is talking to. They thought that he finally was starting to just kill criminals, but Batman has no idea what they are talking about. They mention how Electrocutioner was killed, and Batman realizes that somebody is out there killing criminals in his name. He takes off, disturbed at this information.
Hours later, in Gotham Central’s holding facility, one of the Tweedle brothers wakes up at the sound of two gun shots. The Arkham Knight stands before him. <GUNSHOT>
Hello and welcome to Comic Island! My name is Arden, and today, we are talking about the Batman: Arkham Knight prequel comics.
So this was requested of me ages ago but I’ve been putting it off. I figure the closer we were to the game’s actual release, the more meaningful this comic could be. Ultimately, I’ve decided to do this video now. This week is pretty light for me, and the first twelve issues nicely close off quite a few story arcs.
And yeah, I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of these comics. I know what I expect out of the Arkham Knight game – I loved City and Asylum… and uh…. tolerated Origins, but Arkham Knight the video game looks amazing and I have been waiting a very long time to try that one out. I’m excited for so much of that game, from zooming around in the Batmobile to seeing what the story is behind the mysterious Arkham Knight character.
So that all looks promising, but what of the prequel comic? I personally loathe prequels. Rarely do they add anything to a story and more often then not they spend all their time foreshadowing events that we already know the ending of. But the Arkham Knight comics don’t really work that way. They actually do a nice job at helping to connect the dots between the ending of Arkham City and the beginning of Arkham Knight.
On this merit, they are actually quite compelling comics. They do a good job at setting things up like the new Batmobile, Arkham Knight, and Scarecrow, while also telling a decent story in their own right. The art and writing are well done here, and kudos to the creative team on their work here.
The comic is filled with little moments, and these are what really won me over. I like this scene, for example, where Robin is training in a Batcave simulator. We see Batman loading various villains into the program, only for him to pause when he reaches the Joker. Bruce decides to delete him, but that little moment of hesitation speaks volumes about how Batman feels with regards to a now dead Joker and I really like little details like this.
This comic is also filled to the brim with hints and ideas about what we might expect to see in the video game. It seems like the Joker had something big planned were he to die, and I’m thinking that plan might appear in some form or another either in this comic or the video game itself. We also get a good hint that Batman’s jet the Batwing will play a major role in getting the Batmobile to various locations across Gotham, and that’s told in a very clever way. It felt organic while also setting up major plot points as well as little details we can expect within the game, which on the whole is quite impressive.
This isn’t a perfect comic series, nor is it going down in history as one of Batman’s greatest stories ever. I’d almost decry this comic for focusing on dumb villains like the Electrocutioner, Kid Shark, and the Tweedle brothers, but those guys are mostly here as cannon fodder for Arkham Knight, and there was something kind of endearing about the Tweedles that actually made me care for them a bit… until you know, they were murdered. The comic also has some interesting ties to the Assault on Arkham movie, which also happened in the Arkham universe, and this creates a sense of legacy separate from the mainstream Batman that I really appreciate. In the end, Arkham Knight does a good job at setting up the video game while also standing alone as a decent story. I liked this comic and would recommend you check it out for yourself.