Review: Arkham City: The Order of the World #1
DC has been weaving a very interesting world and story in their Batman titles. Since “Future State” ended, everything presented has been a step towards that dystopian fascist nightmare. To kick off the slide into police rule, “A Day” wiped out Arkham Asylum murdering patients and caregivers, and freeing some of the inmates. It was an attack that set in motion Simon Saint’s vision for a new “police force” for Gotham in the Batman comics and began the tension that has been present throughout James Tynion IV’s run. But, what about those inmate that escaped? Arkham City: The Order of the World #1 explores that focusing on Dr. Joy and the police tasked with rounding up the escaped inmates.
Written by Dan Watters, Arkham City: The Order of the World #1 is an interesting comic as it feels a lot like a police procedural you’d see on television. Dr. Joe attempts to deal with some of the inmates as they’re being apprehended by the police but we also see the media swarming. The comic has an underlying debate about what the public needs to know and if they do, will that only cause more panic? And Watters is very smart about that. While the comic opens with the apprehension of Ratcatcher, it bounces around with glimpses of other characters with one delivering an unexpected twist that attempts to answer the question thrown out to the readers.
The comic also has a solid debate within about what to do with these individuals. Are they criminals? Do they need psychological help? With Arkham destroyed, what facilities are there to handle them? It’s a debate about our own healthcare/mental health/jail system and what’s the best way to handle certain individuals. It adds a level of intelligence to the comic that could easily just be a riff on Se7en (and the comic has a lot of vibes from that film).
What really stands out is the art by Dani. The style is fantastic with a look that’s a bit Francesco Francavilla, Jae Lee, and Tim Sale. With Dave Stewart‘s colors, the comic is disturbing at times and beautiful at others. But, overall, there’s a tension that is created with the art style and colors that fits the narrative so well. There’s a coldness about it all that matches Dr. Joy and the characters within. It’s a fantastic mix of visuals and colors that come together to really drive home the mood and ride the readers are taken on. Aditya Bidikar‘s lettering too adds to that all with a mix of handwritten notes and dialogue each giving so much personality to the characters. The lettering adds to the unease and coldness of it all.
Arkham City: The Order of the World #1 is a solid start, perfect for the Halloween season. It answers some important questions raised after “A Day” that aren’t being dealt with elsewhere. Most importantly, it ties into the greater narrative without being bogged down by it. This is a comic that has a style, voice, and vision all its own and for those that love horror or police procedurals, this a comic that’s a must get.
Story: Dan Watters Art: Dani
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review