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Arkham Asylum: Living Hell (Batman: Arkham #12)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,160 ratings  ·  55 reviews
From one of the comics business' brightest new creative teams comes a Batman tale with a twist - a giant, gut-wrenching, soul-crushing twist! Arkham Asylum: Batman's dustbin where he dumps the worst of the garbage. A melting pot brimming with the curdled milk of human madness, where the warders are as ensnared by the insanity as the inmates. And where a killer has tapped i ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by DC Comics
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Batman by Frank MillerBatman by Alan MooreBatman by Jeph LoebBatman by Frank MillerBatman by Grant Morrison
Best of Batman
79th out of 310 books — 484 voters
Watchmen by Alan MooreBatman by Frank MillerBatman by Alan MooreBatman by Jeph LoebBatman by Frank Miller
Best Superhero Graphic Novels
61st out of 191 books — 201 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,843)
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Let me first say this: although I liked the book, things just got a little too freaky for me.

One of the things I've admired Gotham-verse for is it's tight grip on reality--excluding elements of characters like Poison Ivy and Clayface. This comic seemed to destroy a little bit of that for me, what with all this summoning people from Hell and ghosts running around Arkham, dealing out vengeance to the inmates.

Honestly? Even if that whole plot was only Scarecrow's fear toxin, an opinion it seemed l
Living Hell lives up to its name—its characters are at once repulsive and grotesque, intriguing and damaged. Batman is hardly anywhere to be seen, and while that might put some readers off, the inmates' antics are enough to hold your undivided attention, although I confess I got kind of lost by the end. Funnily enough it makes less sense to me than Grant Morrison's take on Arkham Asylum.
To call the main characters of Living Hell even "third-string" Batman villains would be generous, but Dan Slott reminds us that characters don't have to be popular to be interesting. Across six issues he builds a compelling tale of the world's worst nuthouse.

If you dislike supernatural elements creeping into Batman stories or require the Dark Knight himself as the focus, this won't be for you. It's also extremely creepy in tone and fairly graphic - I would normally expect something like this to
An amazing story, especially since Batman only puts in a rare appearance or two. Essentially a series of shorts following several of the inmates at Arkham. The stories are tied together by following a new character who thinks he's tricked the system by being found not guilty by reason of insanity, but is receives a sentence worse than life in prison: yep, Arkham. What goes on there is everyone's worst nightmare, and then some. I started wondering why Batman didn't get involved to help this - whi ...more
Michael Emond
One of those books that I expected more from. It started off really strong but by the end it had lost its cleverness. Slott is a great writer and is doing amazing things with Spider-man. This book is all about Arkham Asylum, a new inmate who basically swindled people out of their retirements and decided an insanity plea would save him hard time - but it gets him sent to Arkham instead. And an ordinary sleaze like him won't survive long there. The cover has a big picture of Batman but be warned - ...more
Nicola Mansfield
There is always time for a Batman villain showcase and "Living Hell" was literally a riot. I had such a great time with this gallery of "bad guys" that I couldn't put it down. The story isn't exactly heavy duty and there are a few arcs running through at the same time but it's all in the name of a grand romp and pretty crazy creepy at the same time. Most of the famous villains make little cameo appearances but the focus is more on not-so-well known villains or ones created just for this volume. ...more
Taysha Charlton
I would actually give this three and a half :) This was really enjoyable considering I'm a huge fan of Arkham Asylum and the goings-on inside the sinister nuthouse. I really liked getting to know new characters and their back-stories. I was particularly fascinating in Warren White/Great White Shark, even though he's "the worst man I've ever met", I couldn't help but feel empathetic given his situation. I also really enjoyed Humpty Dumpty's back-story with an appearance from Batgirl! :) The only ...more
A great and creepy story. A white collar Bernie Madoff type criminal thinks he gets off easy when he is found not guilty by reason of insanity. Unfortunately for him he was tried in Gotham City, and he is sent to Arkham Asylum, home to some of Batman's deadliest villains. The writer Dan Slott, who tends to write more humorous tales, sets a very creepy tone which is augmented by Ryan Sook's moody art. Several of the classic Batman villains show up, and the writer does a great job capturing their ...more
Mark Schlatter
I am a big fan of Dan Slott's work, especially his Spider-man and GLA comics. This work has some of what I love best about his writing: great dialogue and dark humor. The set up (as Slott describes it) is the TV show OZ set in Arkham, and while we see some of the usual inmates from Batman continuity, Slott has invented some new villains just for the series. There's also two plots, one about a nasty billionaire who pleads insanity when caught cheating people (and thus is sent to Arkham) and the o ...more
Has some good moments, particularly finding a fun way to fold the old "giant typewriter" Gotham architecture into modern continuity, though on the whole it doesn't add up to a satisfying whole.

For one thing, a comic focusing on the workings of Arkham seems a lot more appealing than the focus here: a nobody character who becomes a pretty ridiculous new villain. I'd have rather had the comic do away with him and just be something akin to Gotham Central.

Also, the supernatural stuff comes pretty lat
Gayle Francis Moffet
I love Bat-books that are't Bat books. I love Bat-books that are about the people living in the world alongside Batman. Gotham Central did this beautifully by looking at the cops who work in that crazy city, and Living Hell gives us a view from inside Arkham, framed around a smarmy asshole who thinks he got off easy by getting a change of venue.

It's a strong read, filled with a mix of well-known and mostly forgotten villains. The focus of the story is on the people inside the Asylum, not on how
Overall, didn't like it. Few redeeming qualities but it did kind of freak me out so I'll give it 2 stars instead of one.
The only thing that I had read by Dan Slott before he began writing Amazing Spider-Man was his Spider-Man and Human Touch book. As much as I enjoyed his stories, I did not look at his other works until now because I'm enjoying his Superior Spider-Man immensely. One of the things that I enjoy about Slott is his ability to weave in characters that are not well known, and untaps some great value in the character that moves his stories along in unexpected and sometimes humorous ways. This is certain ...more
John Wiswell
Aug 11, 2007 John Wiswell rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All comics readers, dark fiction readers
I know, I know. Batman is for kids. But Dan Slott worked a bit of a miracle in this one, writing the best possible story that could have "Living Hell" as its title. It begins as national wish-fulfillment, seeing a corporate executive who scammed millions of families out of their pensions plea insanity to escape punishment. The judge hands down the only revenge he can: he'll be treated at Arkham Asylum, home of Batman's rogues gallery. What ensues is the revenge everyone in the country wanted on ...more
Denim Datta
The story is good, but little creepy.

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell" is a six-issue miniseries taking a look at life in Gotham City's infamous Arkham Asylum, particularly at the lives of Arkham's employees, and at its inmate community.

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell

Although "Living Hell" is considered a Batman Storyline, Batman actually only appears in the first and last issues, and briefly at that.
Callie Rose Tyler
When I sat down to read this I didn’t realize how literal a title “Living Hell” was going to be. Rhyming demons and vengeful ghosts are not personally my favorite plot points but it was still a very enjoyable story. Dan Slott never fails to entertain.

What I found to be especially interesting and fresh about this story is that Batman is a very background character making only a few short appearances. I think that really speaks to the Gotham universe and it vast collect of interesting characters.
Jun 04, 2011 Jace rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
As much as I like Batman, I'm also a sucker for stories that take place in the Bat-verse, but push him into a secondary role (like the wonderful Gotham Central series.) I got my wish here, in a story that takes a look at the inner workings of, you guessed it, Arkham Asylum. This is a lighter book than the Grant Morrison tale of the same name, with a more traditional plot structure and clearer artwork. I'm a big fan of Dan Slott, but his writing style didn't really shine through here--this feels ...more
solid mini series from slott. i liked the premise of the story. it follows great warren white and his struggle with prison life in arkham. warren white is a billionaire who is caught stealing people's money, who is sent to arkham due to the court system finding him to be insane when he committed the crime. a little far stretch which i can forgive but the ending of comic has white winning the day with some rhyming. i wish i was clever enough to write this review in rhyme, but alas. the artwork ma ...more
Have read some other reviews on this book and think that people need to be aware that this is not a Batman title. It is not explicitly marketed as such and since Bats plays a minor role in the tale I think there are three words applicable here, "get over it". This story introduces a great character who I think has been undervalued in the DCU. That said I see why people didn't think it was as good as Grant Morrison's Arkham but personally I'm not a huge fan of that book (mainly because it was mea ...more
Though this is in the Batman Universe, Batman plays little to no role in this book. However, this is one of the most interesting non-Batman titles in his realm. It's about Warren Wilson (The Great White Shark) and his time in Arkham and his relations with all the personalities in the Asylum. It's great for giving info on lesser members of the Rogues Gallery as well as some back stories. Also gives some good character development of Jeremiah Arkham and Aaron Hill, guard. Features a ton of periphe ...more
As much as I love Batman, he has been my favorite comic book hero for a long time now, I got really excited when I began discovering all these Batverse stories that had little or nothing to do with him. Or cast him as just as cruel as the creatures he was chucking in Arkham.
The art was really fast and loose, and gave me even more creeps than some of the aspects of the plot. On that topic, you can't ignore the flashes of black humor in there too.
Overall a really awesome way to spend and afternoon
Aug 17, 2007 Lindsay rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Batman fans, graphic novel fans
A question to all the Batman fans out there - ever wonder what it's like in Arkham Asylum?
If you have ever wondered that, then go out and read "Arkham Asylum: Living Hell." It's amazing. An average man has embezelled every dime out of the company he runs and tries to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. He almost gets away with it, too, but the judge decides to send him to Arkham. Once on the inside, his transformation is a spooky one; he goes from regular guy to psychopath with the help of
Lily  Lu
This was on the Best of Batman Goodreads list. Why? Batman isn't really in this story? It was an okay story I've read better.
Rishav Agarwal
Slightly dissapointed with the ending but over all a great comic which gave an interesting insight into Arkham.
Although the storytelling gets a bit wild and confusing toward the end of the arc, what works here is the focus on some of Arkham's lesser known inmates, bringing their horrific stories to vivid life. I can honestly say Living Hell has some of the most disturbing stories and images I've ever come across, and the way in which these stories are layered over one another creates an indelible impression of Arkham that really changes the way you view such an iconic staple of the Batman universe. Regar ...more
C. Eaton
So I'm still not sure if I should give this two or three stars. I really liked parts of it but overall it was just okay. The beginning that explained the origins of Great White Shark and Humpty dumpty were really good. And I really liked the artwork. But the moment that ghosts and demons got involved I really started to lose interest. It's stil a worthwhile read if you like side stories set in the bat-verse (like Gotham Central) and you're looking to kill an hour or so of time. But I don't think ...more
Feb 24, 2013 Sean rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any adult!
I never realized that Dan Slott had written a Batman book before but after reading this he needs to again. Although Batman only appears in a handful of panels, Slott deftly handles Batman's villains and even creates new ones that are equal parts creepy and cool. Ryan Sook's art portrayed the craziness perfectly and the book would have been totally different with a different artist. The ending of this got a little wonky but overall the book was fun to read.
The most contrived origin stories possible for two lesser known villains, Great White Shark/Warren White and Humpty Dumpty/Humphry Dumpler. More about the horrors of Arkham and a game of "how many body parts can we fit into this story?" than a story about Batman, who is hardly in it except at the end. Also, the demons and zombies and ghosts? Not sure what they were going for there, but it doesn't make the story any better.
This isn't much more than a villain's showcase in Arkham Asylum, and mostly without Batman. I wasn't highly impressed, though it does give some good back story to a few characters, one of which I didn't have a lot of knowledge of. There are better villain's books than this one, and those also include Batman in a way. I much preferred Joker's Asylum over this one. The artwork in this was not mind-blowing either.
A trip through the famed Asylum through the eyes of a white-collar criminal, this book shows how the denizens of Arkham can twist anyone or anything to their liking. Warren White thinks he got off easy from his embezzlement schemes - until he learns his insanity defense has sent him to Arkham. Forced to encounter Two-Face, Joker, and other newly minted inmates, the former Great White Shark may not survive.
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