Arkham Unhinged #50
Welcome to the Slough of Despond
I think Arkham Unhinged could give me ulcers. The first arc I read was the abysmal “Uninvited Guests” story which made me want to vomit. After that came Karen Traviss’s current plotline which has been taking its sweet time to advance. Through Traviss’s story, Karen has shown sparks of brilliance with the Bookbinder, but she has been trapped by the horrible fencing of Arkham City which, sad to say, has a lot of plot stupidity in its playtime. Does Traviss manage to drag Arkham Unhinged from the depth of crappiness, or does she shove it further into the muck?
In this issue, Bruce and Alfred try to contend with the food clue left by the Bookbinder, Commissioner Gordon continues to deal with the crime wave, and Batman considers his motivations while fighting crime.
After months of harping on this series, I have to admit that this issue was brilliant. Bookbinder’s clue seems to threaten somebody relating to food, but the Bookbinder’s clue is so vague, it could mean almost anything. Through the entire issue, Traviss constantly barrages readers with images of everything from coffee junkies to meat processing plants as if daring readers to guess the target. This serves to create a lot of suspense while also creating a mirror for modern day, overweight America.
Batman gazes into the mirror himself as he asks himself why he truly feels the need to combat crime in his own unique manner, and though many of the elements of his exploration have been voiced in other comics, Traviss does put it together in an interesting package. The civilian vigilante element to the story also sets up for an interesting discussion.
Whereas I have previously criticized the series for hiring bargain bin talent, I cannot say that anymore. The bizarrely named Dallocchico takes over for Duce, and Dallocchico’s work is absolutely top notch.
After a brief surge of hope, I had once again written this series off, but this issue is excellent, and even if you have not been following the story thus far, this issue is worth a purchase. My suggestion to Traviss is that she ignore the constraints of Arkham City as much as possible and continue to present a story which is excellent in its own right.