“This is not the story that was leaked to the press. This is how it happened. This is how the Batman died.”
Hello Readers! Many gamers have been in great anticipation for the newest installment and conclusion to the video game series Batman: Arkham. There are four games within this series; Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009), Batman: Arkham City (2011), Batman: Arkham Origins (2013) and the newly released Batman: Arkham Knight (2015). I have not played any of the games within this series, but I have watched others play and was captivated by the story and how the traditional characters within the world of Batman were used and presented. The cut scenes especially were really intense and entertaining.
So when I discovered that there was a novelized version written by famous DC Comics scribe Marv Wolfman of the conclusion of the game series released in June, I was very excited to read it. I have always been a fan of the many different, insane and colourful characters within DC and gravitate towards novels; so this seemed like a good fit. For those who have not yet played this game, have no fear. This will be a spoiler free review of the novel. So without further delay let’s dive right into Marv Wolfman’s novelization of Batman: Arkham Knight.
Out story begins one year after the events of Batman: Arkham City, with the Joker being dead and Commissioner Gordon preparing for one of the many other villains to make claim on Gotham. When Scarecrow broadcasts a threat to unleash a terrifying toxin that will take control of the city and kill thousands, Gotham citizens fall into chaos and panic trying to flee. With the help of Oracle, Gordon and the GCPD, Batman must figure out where Scarecrow is keeping the toxin before it is released within the next 24 hours, as well as battle the mysterious Arkham Knight, a well trained copy of Batman, whose single motivation is to destroy him and all he holds dear. Can Batman stop Scarecrow from destroying Gotham? And can he figure who this Arkham Knight is before it’s too late?
I enjoyed reading this novel from beginning to end. The story was thrilling, mysterious and so intense that I found myself trying to read faster so I would immediately know what was happening next. Within this novel you see many different characters from the world of Batman, like Commissioner James Gordon, Oracle (Barbara Gordon), Alfred Pennyworth, Two-Face, Penguin, Poison Ivy and Scarecrow to name a few. The narrative flows through the different perspectives of the many characters involved. I really enjoyed this because you get a sense of what each person is experiencing, as well as what their individual motivations, fears and goals are pertaining to the events unfolding. Batman of course, is the character we mainly follow throughout the story and we truly get an in-depth look into his inner struggles; particularly his relationships with both Gordon and Oracle.
The character of the Arkham Knight is haunting as well as fascinating. You are constantly wondering why he is working with the Scarecrow. What does he get out infecting the city with the toxin? And if he hates Batman so much that he wants to destroy him, why does he model himself after Batman’s bat-like symbol and costume? He is a villain that is constantly keeping Batman and you the reader guessing at what his next move will be. The plot is fast paced and highly engaging. Every page is filled with detailed description and great action found within the thrilling cut scenes of the game; only you’re reading it instead of playing it.
As stated above, I have never played any of the games this novel is based on and only knew a little bit of the story and plot that took place in them. But this novel is written to stand alone with great detailed flashbacks and back stories. You do not need to know what happened before this novel to enjoy it. Any details that are important for the reader to know are illustrated in the prologue and explained as the story progresses. Now if you are someone who has never read Batman comics or knows very little about the different characters within the world of Batman, that’s okay. Whenever Batman interacts with a character, or someone like Commissioner Gordon references a person from his past, the novel explains who this person is and how they affect the situation. So you are never confused with who people are or why they are important while you are reading. There are even flashbacks to Bruce’s past that give you insight into who he was before he became Batman and the different struggles he has had since.
This novel is also really good for people who are fans of Batman but are not really into reading comics. I myself love both comics and novels, but understand that stories with graphics are not everyone’s cup of tea. This gives you all the details of the comic as well as the fascinating characters, fast paced action, interesting twists and compelling relationships without the pictures. So whether you are a fan of comic books, video games or fiction in general, this novel is both captivating and entertaining.
If you are looking for a thrilling story filled with insane villains, high action, intense plot twists and fascinating heroes, this is the novel for you. Both fans of the video game series and new comers will love this book. Whether you are a diehard Batman fan or are just getting into the adventures of the caped crusader, Wolfman’s Batman: Arkham Knight is a worthwhile read for all.
If you’re gonna Geek out, GEEK HARD!