FROM THE PUBLISHER: The face behind the mask is revealed! Who’s taken up the mantle of the Arkham Knight? What’s their endgame? And what’s the shocking secret that Batman never knew about a part of his life he’d taken for granted?
We are almost at the end of Tomasi’s excellent Arkham Knight story, #1005 is the grand finale. Every issue has kept the same level of quality with the story and art so far, I really haven’t had many problems with this story at all. It really has hit all the right notes for me. Does the issue continue the quality streak? Well, you could keep reading this review to find out. You probably should since you’re already here, just saying.
This issue, #1004, is almost entirely an origin story. The subtitle for the issue is Secrets & Lies but I’d prefer to call it Story Time with Doctor Arkham. I feel like it’s much more fitting. The book opens seconds after the previous one ended, Batman and Robin have found Dr. Arkham and now know the Arkham Knight is his daughter Astrid. From there, it’s the good doctor telling Batman and Robin about Astrid’s life in plenty of fine detail. He also shares the story of how he met her mother adding some extra depth to the issue.
Astrid’s origin works well, much better than Jason Todd’s version anyway, and there’s a lot of cool ideas at work here. We also learn a bit more about Dr. Arkham too, which I enjoyed. The concept of Astrid being friends with the inmates, including some of Batman’s most popular enemies, and her POV being skewed because of that was very surprising given the profession of her father. I liked that a lot, I’d say one of the book’s highlights was actually a brief interaction between her and the Joker. All of the other cameos were nice to see and the way they were used was really great. It isn’t very often that we see these characters showing off their human sides so that was definitely interesting. It fit with this tale anyway. Solomon Grundy is definitely the MVP of this issue though and no one can tell me any different. I believe the phrase is “Don’t @ me bro!”, yeah?
Kudos to Tomasi for laying out the origin and helping us understand what makes Astrid tick. But..as you continue to read, you’ll discover that one of the main reasons for her life’s mission is sorta flimsy. It isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong. It does work. To me, it just doesn’t work as well as I would’ve liked. I was just hoping for some tighter reasoning. That said, I knew the origin would eventually have to be explained and really could go either way. I thought it would make or break the character. It definitely didn’t break her, she’s still cool in my opinion. This is a side note but I also think that due to aspects of her origin, people will make a lot of comparisons to other villains and even some within Batman’s Rogues Gallery.
Is that a bad thing? Nah, there’s just some familiar stuff.
Overall, the quality streak continues. Solid writing and art make this another awesome entry. I cannot wait to read the finale and see what Tomasi & Co. have prepared!
Oh and keep an eye out for a recreation of a classic Batman comic cover, it’s pretty cool.
RATING: LET’S GO!