Batman Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison

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“Enough madness? Enough? And how do you measure madness?”

— Grant Morrison, Batman Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth

       What rhymes with unoriginal and sells on a bi-weekly basis? Definitely not this graphic novel! Batman Arkham Asylum is not like other graphic novels that hit the market and made a name of themselves. Grant Morrison, another God among writers, wanted to deliver something out of the ordinary. Something that leave a nasty scar in the end. A comic that will push the boundaries of the medium and search its identity within the very art. Batman Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth is a challenge for readers. It goes lengths to push through ideas that are in their core, amazing. In fact, picking up this volume is similar to trying to budge Excalibur out of its stone. It won’t work out for many, but if you’re one of the lucky ones, this might be an amazing ride. Grant Morrison’s masterpiece tells the story of a gruesome, dark day when inmates of Arkham Asylum, notably Joker, take control of the asylum and keep hostages. Twist is, they’re willing to trade the hostages for Batman. This groundbreaking novel explores the origins or Mr. Arkham and Batman’s sanity. There’s no better incentive to try this classic piece of comic, right?

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“Sometimes… sometimes I think the Asylum is a head. We’re inside a huge head that dreams us all into being. Perhaps it’s your head, Batman. Arkham is a looking glass… and we are you.”

— Grant Morrison, Batman Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth

        This graphic novel redefines art like none other has ever attempted. Personally, I found it gorgeous and thrilling. It was able to send chills down my spine and really managed to stun me at time; it really sent chills down my spine. Dave McKean did an outstanding job in this volume. The level of sophistication in the details and the amount of precision in order to execute Grant Morrison’s idea is insane. You can tell that a great deal of work was put into perfecting every single panel for this graphic novel just from the additional script included in the 15th anniversary edition. Has me wondering if we’ve got ourselves a perfectionist among the industry. After all, Grant Morrison is a giant when it comes to Batman (at least for a great number of comic story arcs). Like I’ve mentioned earlier, this is a real challenge. The biggest one lies in the font. I don’t know where the idea came to use something so cryptic, but I can definitely see the appeal in using this type of font to blend with the general aura of the novel and to keep the same vibe going. It’s just that it can become pretty hectic at times, and a great deal of focus could be necessary just to understand some pages. However, I’m always up for a challenge and I strongly believe in indulging myself in an author’s work and try hard to see what they wanted to convey. It’s how I usually enjoy any piece of art (novella or cinematography). Once you get used to the artwork, you’ll be literally swimming in a pool of dark, mushy-oozy insanity.

         The graphic novel is highly quotable and contains a lot of great moments. One of my favorite is the one that derives from the previous quote. This comes directly from a villain that goes on James Bond villain speech, but it wasn’t short of being intriguing. In fact, I’ve always wondered if all of Batman’s villain weren’t somehow—even if you had to be very abstract about it—a piece of Batman’s identity. I’m pretty sure if I began a in-depth analysis of Batman and his history, I can arrive at a descent thesis that depicts solid proof of how every single villain of Batman is actually a part of him. Grant Morrison really does an amazing job at scrutinizing every single villain and even Batman in order to build a brilliant twist to their personas. The best example of this is Harvey Dent and his coin. Without mentioning any spoilers, the idea executed upon this element was just brilliant. It added a nice extra layer—maybe a little more that one layer, if you know what I mean—to the character and made Harvey an intriguing and important plot element. What’s even more fascinating about this novel is how it brings in a bunch of villains while never being overcrowded. There’s even a really dark and eerie sub-plot revolving around Amadeus Arkham. This was really entertaining considering his story is quite rare in Batman’s universe.

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“Afraid? Batman’s not afraid of anything. It’s me. I’m afraid. I’m afraid that The Joker may be right about me. Sometimes… I question the rationality of my actions. And I’m afraid that when I walk through those asylum gates… When I walk into Arkham and the doors close behind me… it’ll be just like coming home.”

— Grant Morrison, Batman Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth

         Dark. Horrifying. Delusional. Insane. Grant Morrison succesfully delivered a graphic novel that has made a formidable impact in the comic industry. Batman Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth has reverberated throughout the whole medium and has made a name for itself; with great confidence might I add. Taking on the Dark Knight’s sanity and testing his psychological limits by putting him in the one place where the mind is tested to its very limits, readers are bound to feel anxious while sweat pours out of them while reading this masterpiece. It’s easy to go through this volume and wonder how insane you have to be to enjoy such a thing, but that’s what makes this amazing. It’s a unique ride through a delusional world that has never been portrayed as Gotham should be. The book is a psychological mess, a mess that you need to try to go through while grasping at the little sanity that is whipped at you. You know… This is why Batman is such an intriguing superhero. The fields that you can exploit with his universe is infinite. And in the right hands, you’re bound to lay your eyes on something this refined and complex. It’s only by challenging normality that you can reach singularity. And what’s more singular than insanity?

As always, don’t forget to share your thoughts on this graphic novel, as well as like and follow us as we continue to get you guys reviews to enjoy. Are you still interested in this story? You can purchase a copy of Batman Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth by clicking on this hyperlink!

My overall rating: ★★★★★/

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 11.24.49 PM

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16 thoughts on “Batman Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison

    • transhaan says:

      Oddly.. my comment for this has disappeared and I’m pretty sure I replied to this with A LOT of enthusiasm! Hopefully you received it on your end.. back in February. If not, I’ll still like to say THANK YOUU for alll the kind words! You should definitely invest some time on some big titles in the comic world. The medium has some really impressive artwork and there’s so much you can learn from some comics. This one is really twisted because of Grant Morrison’s artwork and the way he wanted to convey the story. Not an easy graphic novel to dive into! 😀

      – Lashaan

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  1. Jean Sebastien says:

    Super beau review! J’ai adoré ce volume de Arkham Asylum. J’avoue que l’écriture …ayoye j’avais de la misère mais comme tu l’as dit, ça rendait vraiment tout beau et maniac en même temps. Je le recommende a tout le monde que je rencontre mais.. personne n’achete de comics ces temps-ci hahah. Ben content de savoir que tu l’as aimé aussi. Très belle qualité d’écriture btw. Belle esthétique du blog aussi, très plaisant à lire. Lâche pas

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Merci man. T’es la première personne à laisser un commentaire en français et ça, ça me donne de l’espoir. Pas mal difficile de retrouver du mon qui lise des comics dans leur temps libre et je suis vraiment content d’entendre tes réactions au livre. Arkham Asylum est vraiment un oeuvre d’art! Merci beaucoup pour avoir pris la peine de lire le review et pour toute l’appréciation. #COMICFANSREUNITE ! 😀

      – Lashaan

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  2. Chris says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen a better review than this damn the time you took to write this is unbelievable. I loved this volume. With all my heart. I loved the creepy, crazy, dark twisted side. the pics with the review are gorgeous

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thank you so much for the really nice words. I’m always so glad to hear from other people who have read the comics that I’ve read. Always great to share the same opinion or even, to discuss about the book ! Arkham Asylum really was a unique and beautiful read. Thank you again for taking the time to read my review and to drop a comment! Hope to see you again on my future comic reviews (there will be more! :D)

      – Lashaan

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  3. Chris Evans says:

    Great review! I’ve heard a lot about this GN over the years and really need to check it out. To be honest I’m not the biggest fan of Morrison’s Batman but I did enjoy “Gothic” (have you read that? I highly recommend it!) and Arkhum Asylum does sound/look great – as always, the beautiful photography used in your reviews makes it irresistable!

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Thanks man ! Yes, I read Gothic, it was one of the first story arcs I read digitally. Had me amazed by the comic medium and pushed me into digging more into all the comic books out there ! 😀 Arkham Asylum is quite hectic in its artwork and storytelling ways. I’m sure you’ll come to see what I mean once you get the chance to check it out. Even if it wasn’t your cup of tea, I’m pretty sure it’s worth the experience. It’s extremely unique and it’s either a hit or miss thing.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucas says:

    I didn’t read this one but one guy over here (marc) did and he says that your review was brilliant! He loves the cards too and he knows exactly to which character you were referring to. Not the Joker. (I tried to guess and he said nop) 😦 He loved the James Bond Reference. ”Arkham Asylum is one of the notorious places on Batman History, so many secrets, so many dark sides, this graphic novel has simply touched the surface of insanity” – Mark’s exact words

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Joker was a good try! Who wouldn’t have said that, but yeh, it wasn’t him! Glad to hear some understood the reference! 😀 😀 Mark is definitely right with that quote! Happy to hear you guys are still holding on to your comic love!

      – Lashaan

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  5. Max says:

    This is one of my favourite stories from Batman , a great spin off. I saw that your gilfriend reads comics too but more Marvel? Wow you guys are goals I’ve never seen a girl reading comics before and especially being in a relationship with another comic lover. Kudoos, youre both lucky!

    Liked by 1 person

    • transhaan says:

      Hahahhah you’ve brightened my day with your comment. This is definitely an amazing piece of art. It can be a hit or miss for some because of Gran Morrison’s unique vision in comics.

      As for my girlfriend. She’s definitely more Marvel than DC, but she can still appreciate the DC things I show her (otherwise, we’d have a daily problem..) Who knows, maybe with time you’ll land on a girl that will share the same passion as you for comics. Don’t give up! Thank you so much though! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Like

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