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Batman: Arkham Asylum
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Batman: Arkham Asylum (Batman)

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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  35,051 ratings  ·  1,043 reviews
In this groundbreaking, painted graphic novel, the inmates of Arkham Asylum have taken over Gotham's detention center for the criminally insane on April Fools Day, demanding Batman in exchange for their hostages. Accepting their demented challenge, Batman is forced to live and endure the personal hells of the Joker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Two-Face and many other sworn enem ...more
Hardcover, Absolute
Published 2010 by Planeta DeAgostini Comics (DC Comics) (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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StoryTellerShannon


This is not your traditional Batman tale. Some people won't like it. In fact, Batman seems like a normal man when confronted by the horrors within and acts in very non Batman ways. There's a two part story here where we switch back and forth to the founder of Arkham and why he turned his mansion into a facility for the mad and Batman trying to navigate his way through the madness of Arkham.



Batman action is minimal. This is much more of an emotional journey.

There is distinctive lettering for
...more
Eric
May 30, 2012 Eric rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
What a fucking mess. The painted artwork was appalling, the story-line was incoherent, the dialogue was barely legible, and, most importantly, the portrayal of Batman was all wrong. This felt like a second-rate haunted-house horror that Batman was wedged into, and poorly at that. Batman's encounters with various villains felt thrown-in, in a cheap name-dropping way, his decision-making was baffling to non-existent, and the story's resolution -- hanging on a coin-flip -- was absurd.

The back-stor
...more
Andrew Webb
I have read many a poor/overrated Batman story in my ten-odd years as a fan, but this much referred to epic may take the cake. As a Batman story, this is a total failure. Batman acts completely out of character almost from the beginning. When walking into a hostage situation masterminded by the Joker, he strikes up a conversation with his archenemy rather than planning how to rescue the innocents involved. When Joker shoots a hostage in the head across the room from Batman (I think-- the bizarre ...more
Keith
So after buying this book for the third time in my life today (the first, a hardcover edition that all the pages eventually fell out of; the second, the paperback edition sans script that now sits across the country with the rest of my books) I decided it was worth going on Goodreads to wax poetic about it. Because goddamn I love this book. I got it right after the '89 movie came out, of course, and was absolutely terrified of it -- it sat on my nightstand and gave me nightmares regularly, until ...more
Madeline
i think ADHD being a form of higher evolution is an interesting theory. grant morrison thinking he is more highly evolved because he has ADHD is a less interesting theory.

morrison is no genius, in my opinion. i would attribute most of the greatness of the book to mckean, especially after reading the original "script" in the back of this book. morrison says, "According to Len Wein's original WHO'S WHO entry, Arkham died singing "the Battle Hymn of the Republic," but for some reason I got confused
...more
Marc
Oct 15, 2007 Marc rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: intellectual art lovers
Arkham Asylum is the best graphic novel I've ever read for two reasons: writing, and art.

This isn't your average WHACK! POW! comic book. In fact, there is almost no violence or glammed-out secret weapons. Grant Morrision takes us through a masterful exploration into the psyche of Bruce Wayne, a man who suffered a tragic loss at an early age and formed a very clear alternate identity. Is he a crime fighter, or does he suffer from MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder), and does it even matter.

Set in
...more
Anne
Sorry, guys. Didn't like it.

I have a headache and my eyes hurt.
Not joking here.
One of my eyes is actually throbbing.
Yes, only one.
I'm going to take some Tylenol...
Sam Quixote
Based solely upon his 2006-2013 run, Grant Morrison might be the greatest Batman writer of all time. But he wasn’t always so brilliant as his first Batman book, the mega-selling Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, shows.

The inmates have overrun the asylum and are holding civilians hostage. With Joker running free with a knife, Batman goes into the asylum to stop him and enters a nightmarish netherworld. Meanwhile, the troubled life of the asylum’s founder, Amadeus Arkham, is explor
...more
Julian
A batman tale at its best, as it reaches unflinchingly deep into the recesses of the human psyche. While the comic may be accused by some as symptomatic of an attempt at at best, pop psychology, I think the authors have done a marvellous job in portraying the differences by which Batman and The Joker are negotiating what are in essence, very similar psychological conflicts.
This is done on a backdrop literally seething with a brooding, menacing perceived threat of total disintegration, which was
...more
Werebot
Oct 06, 2008 Werebot rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the one Batman fan in the world who hasn't read it.
I know that a lot of the modern Batman mythos has a lot to do with the whole evil outside vs. darkness within motif, but this is ridiculous. What a pretentious bunch of nonsense. And I've never gotten the attraction to Dave McKean's art. But then, I'm not a goth nerd. I can never tell what's going on, everything's too dark and splotchy and covered in symbols. This is a Batman comic book. Let's not overthink it. When did we let the British take over our comic books anyway? Neil Gaiman and co. nee ...more
Stephen
3.5 stars. Superb art by Dave McKean and a mostly good story by Grant Morrison (with flashes of brilliance) highlight this quality Batman graphic novel. The reason it doesn't rate higher overall is because there were a few "huh?" moments where the story was a bit hard to follow and I think the creators at times sacrificed story at the altar of atmosphere.
Zaki
I like dark, sinister and menacing stuff. Arkham Asylum threw out the rule book and invented a new one. A darker one. A cruel one.

And it tests the boundaries of your comfort zone.

I adore every twisted page. They have a rich and dark quality. My mind is full of dark thoughts. I only think in black.
Brandon
Batman is alerted that the inmates of Arkham Asylum have taken over the premises. If this isn't dangerous enough, they're threatening to murder everyone in the facility unless Batman agrees to a face to face meeting.

I understand that a lot of people can appreciate the style in which both Morrison and McKean approached Batman, however this just wasn't for me. Maybe I like my stuff a little more.. focused? I have no idea if that's the right word. I feel like I'm almost speaking a form of blasphemy
...more
Petertpc
This was a pretty disappointing. I thought the artwork was outstanding and I really liked the dark tone of the stoty. What bothered me was the writing. I know that Grant Morrison is a comic legend, but the plot here seemed dysfunctional and hard to follow. I didn't make for a good read.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
My dislike of this book borders on violent. I realize what the author and artist were going for, and I appreciate the foreward and even the screenplay with commentary. I admit I gave up on reading the whole screenplay because I was tired and wasn't feeling well, and felt my time was better spent moving on. However, even gaining insight into their thought processes didn't make me like this book any more.

I am an artist, and I love art. However, I am not a fan of art becoming so all-consuming that
...more
Craig Williams
I never liked Grant Morrison. Ever since he started to make a splash in the comic book scene, I couldn't figure out why he was such a big damn deal. His work on Batman, especially the R.I.P-arc, was awful. His work on Uncanny X-Men, from what I read, was okay, but nothing incredible.

Then I read Batman: Arkham Asylum.

I have to say - this is really good stuff. I read this in one sitting, it was so good. Morrison weaves a haunting Batman tale, exploring the darker side of Batman's psyche: the part
...more
William Thomas
Grant Morrison has evolved greatly over the course of 20 years, and this less than stellar book from 1989 is the proof of how far he has come. Because this was an absolute abomination on all fronts.

Dis I say abomination? I meant abortion. Because this read like something bot fully developed, the story only half-baked and fairly worthless, not entertaining us, nor teaching us, nor making us believe in it's poetry or beauty. The only thing redeeming were bits of the art by Dave McKean, and even th
...more
Adam
McKean's artwork is just staggeringly good. I don't have much else to say about it.

The effect of the thing is very Lynchian more than anything else. I think Lynch doing this as a movie would be utterly awesome. It's very much in that same category where you have to feel and experience it, where a close reading is actually less rewarding (and fuck you Grant Morrison, if you disagree) than just letting it wash over you. It plays on the emotions and is really very dreamlike and atmospheric.

It's rea
...more
Nigel
Yes. Perfect. Art is absolutely gorgeous, writing is perfect, we don't get bogged down in Bats, and the Bats we do get is minimalist and cool. I can't decide which characterization I like the most. Well, I can; Maxie Zeus is inexplicably fucking amazing and messianic and a complete 180 from the dolt who runs into the tree in 'Knightfall.' However, it also features the most important portrayal of Twoface that I've seen. I mean, holy shit. Also, is that poetry written from each major character's p ...more
Tyler Hill
I know that this comic looms large in the Bat-cannon, so I've been interested to read it for some time now. But, now that I've had a chance to, I have to say I'm a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it's a matter of expectations being set too high, but it also might be a matter of just some muddy storytelling.

To be fair, there's a number of interesting ideas in these pages. The description of Joker's psyche by one of the people working in the Asylum is interesting, and the story of Amadeus Arkham is genui
...more
Sesana
I admit, I picked this up for a re-read after playing Arkham Asylum. Fantastic game, by the way, well-written, with great action and incredible voice acting. But this is not about that game, about which I could rave for hours.

I remember loving this graphic novel when I first read it, but reading it again I can't exactly remember why. It's still well-written, and the Arkham backstory is interesting enough that it's apparently been kept. But pretty much everybody that shows up feels out of charact
...more
Ryan Milbrath
In the 1980’s the character of Batman became synonymous with violent, almost sociopathic, vigilante. This portrayal of Batman was, no doubt, influenced by Frank Miller’s 1986, opus The Dark Knight Returns, and the storylines developed by Chuck Dixon, and others, in 80’s. Then comes 1989, and a work so divisive, it left Batman fans either waiting for the next work in character evolution, or desperately trying to Listerine away the bad taste of Grant Morrison from their taste buds.

Morrison’s Batma
...more
Trey Piepmeier
I bought this book when it first came out in 1989 and was somewhat obsessed with it. I thought it was totally brilliant. And I guess in the context of the time in which it was published, it was. Nothing like this had been done before. There weren't any painted, hardcover "graphic novels" back then.

The artwork is at times amazing (basically any picture of The Joker), and at times puzzling. I guess the whole McKean collage thing used to be cool, but having photographs interspersed with paintings j
...more
MIke
Forget "...Dark Knight," "The Killing Joke" and "Year One," this is the greatest Batman story ever told. Morrison weaves a tale of symbols that plays out in a crawl from the depth of Hell to the brink of salvation and vice versa. With Dave McKean's brilliant art setting the stage there's nothing to compete.
Elizabeth
This was a cool graphic novel. It was split into sections the first was the actual graphic novel part where i enjoyed the storyline and felt i'd learnt quite a bit about a big part of gotham. however i didn't enjoy the red writing that the joker's speech was in and i also at times though they were very good found the artwork a little dark for me to really see what was happening. The next part however really cleared that up for me as it was the final draft of the script and it was so interesting ...more
Cassandra
Enthralling story, made transcendent by beautifully provocative artwork.

After months of wanting to get into comics and dithering over where to start, I finally picked this one up on an impulse simply because the cover art intrigued me. I didn't know until afterwards that this is the "most successful comic ever!" (according to the quote on the back cover) or the definitive Arkham Asylum story (according to Wikipedia ).
I can see why it has been awarded such a high status in the Batman canon. Thi
...more
John Pistelli
Somewhere around the end of the nineteenth or the beginning of the twentieth century, writers and artists--at the conjunction of science and the occult--began to suspect a deep psychic structure to all human experience, a structure formalized in world myth, then being analyzed synoptically for the first time by anthropologists and psychologists. Many literary works of the time are characterized by what T. S. Eliot, speaking of Ulysses, baptized the "mythic method": this method entails presenting ...more
Geoff
Wow! So much hate for this book! No surprise either, this is the most unconventional and right brained Batman comic to hit the stands. I can see why the controversy exists. In a way, though it was released before the movie came out, it reminds me of Burton's Batman Returns. It's a piece of poetry that transcends its genre, breaks out of the moulds and looks, feels, smells fresh. I honestly couldn't believe this comic was released in the 80's, the era of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, when ...more
Matt Hlinak
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth ranks up there with Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke (1988) and Frank Miller’s masterpieces The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Year One (1987) as the best Batman books of all time. The simple premise of Arkham Asylum is that the inmates have taken over, and Batman must venture into the madhouse to set things right.

Batman sums up what’s at stake here: “Sometimes I . . . question the rationality of my actions. And I’m afraid that when I walk through tho
...more
Mike Hendrycks
Having read most all of batman comics and graphic novels I can finally say I hate grant morrissons works. They are all pathetic waste of time disgraces to the batman genre. This one being the worst followed closely by R.I.P. the black glove and batman and son. His batman writes (rights) should be revoked. This book especially had me seeing red by the end. Batman just walks around killing people? Self mutilating himself?! What the f--- is this garbage!! The artwork is abysmal and the lettering is ...more
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  • Batman: Dark Victory
  • Joker
  • Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
  • The Batman Adventures: Mad Love
  • Batman: Year 100
  • DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore
  • Batman: The Man Who Laughs
  • Batman: Black and White (Batman: Black and White #1)
  • Batman: The Black Mirror
  • Arkham Asylum: Living Hell
  • The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told
  • Batman: The Cult
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
  • Batman: Noël
  • Kingdom Come
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Scottish comic book author Grant Morrison is known for culture-jamming and the constant reinvention of his work. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and countercultural leanings in his runs on titles including DC Comics' Animal Man, Batman, JLA, The Invisibles, Action Comics, All-Star Superman, and Doom Patrol, and Marvel Comics' New X-Men and Fantastic Four. Many of these are controversial, ...more
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“Enough madness? Enough? And how do you measure madness? - The Joker” 204 likes
“Sometimes it’s only madness that makes us what we are.” 78 likes
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