Mind Capsules – Arkham Manor #4 and Gotham By Midnight #3

Arkham Manor #4
Arkham Manor #4

Writer – Gerry Duggan
Artist – Shawn Crystal
Colours – Dave McCaig

The first story arc of Arkham Manor keeps rolling on with Batman finally making some headway by capturing a Clayface, albeit a very different one, with the help of Mr. Freeze.  And as Bruce gets himself out of the Asylum finally, the mystery continues as the real foe is still there, hidden away.  Gerry Duggan, slowly but surely, has been unwinding this little tale with every passing issue and as he does so, it has become just a little more interesting.  It is fascinating to think that the homestead of Bruce Wayne has been turned into an insane asylum and even more so to think about the psychological repercussions that the idea of it alone is doing to its former owner, much less when he goes undercover in the place.  To top it all off, he is surrounded by those who are considered mad, day and night and for him not to be affected by it has to take a will that is even harder than his.  The Clayface creature was a bit of a letdown, but it is nice to know that there is still something else in the house, still hiding.  The team-up with Mr. Freeze was a nice touch to the story and even a little surprising to find out that the man actually wishes to be there.  It is probably the first time ever that one of Batman’s rogues has voluntarily wished to remain in Arkham, never mind having already gotten out and able to get away scot-free.  One problem that you do realize with this series is how to keep featuring Batman within its pages.  He cannot be undercover all the time, nor just always patrolling around the mansion.  The book will have to take on a different path with a different leading character and it will have to be even more compelling than this story is to keep readers coming back.  Sadly, even though the book is a good one, the title has been cancelled with only a couple of issues left to go.

3 out of 5

Gotham By Midnight #3
Gotham By Midnight #3

Writer – James Tynion IV
Artist – Ben Templesmith

Gotham By Midnight continues with the weirdness as we find Corrigan and his partners at the hospital to see a little girl who has a little bit of a problem.  Seems like no matter what test they run on the little girl, she comes up as having small pox even though she was vaccinated against it.  And, to make it just a little bit worse, her shadow, or what looks to be her shadow, is alive and quite scary.  James Tynion IV and Ben Templesmith have been crafting one fantastic little book, one that takes place in the Bat-Family of titles, but one that could easily just move on over to Vertigo as the horror within it would be a perfect fit for the mature readers line.  While Tynion takes us for a ride in the present, we also get to see a little bit of history between the man and Lisa Drake, one of his partners on the job.  Of course, that history is anything but normal otherwise it would not be in this book and she most likely would not be a member of the team.  Templesmith’s artwork is as strange and as beautiful as ever, bringing the dark side of things to light with his pencils.    Even the ghost creature, which looks just like a simple shadow for the most part, comes alive in the most frightening manner and it is but one example of why this title is so good.  So far, The Spectre has not made an appearance, but with all of the crazy stuff going on, it can only be a matter of time.  Also up in the air is the direction that this book is going to go, but so far the X-Files vibe that it is giving off is pretty damned good.  This is definitely the most bizarre Bat-book out at the moment, but one that is most welcome.

3.5 out of 5

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