Comics Worth Reading: ‘Arkham City’ Tie-In

A comic that ties into an existing story from a different medium would normally set off a warning bells for the discerning reader. Tie-ins for video games are becoming increasingly popular with ‘God of War’, ‘Dead Space’, ‘Prototype’, ‘Street Fighter’ and many others making the jump from screen to the printed page with below average results.

This one caught my eye and in spite of previous experiences, I picked it up. Why? Firstly, it’s Batman and that usually over-rides my judgement in these situations and, secondly, it was written by Paul Dini. Dini stands among Morrison, Moore, Miller and Brubaker as the best writers who have tackled the caped crusader being responsible for much of ‘The Animated Seres’ (including creating Harley Quinn) and ‘Batman & Robin’. In addition the artwork is by Carlos D’Anda who provided the original and often brilliant designs for the games settings and characters (his Batsuit, Batmobile and Scarecrow being especially awesome).

The story rates as one of the best Batman narratives released this year. Whilst those not familiar with the plot of the first ‘Arkham’ game may feel a lack of context, Dini weaves a brilliant tale depicting the creation of the new prison complex and how the major characters wind up there. What Batman was doing to prevent this and why he hadn’t taken action earlier forms the main framework for the plot, and makes the story of the game more interesting without it being essential reading.

In addition to main story the trade paperback contains a couple of short stories previously only available online that focus on individual characters – Strange, Bane and Robin included – plus some of D’Anda’s sketches for designing the character’s new looks in the game.

Well worth the money for any fan of the game and Batman.