Batman: The Last Arkham
by Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle
(DC Comics, 1996)

The Last Arkham, published in trade paperback form in 1996, collects the first four issues of the former Shadow of the Bat Batman series from 1992.

Batman, suspecting complicity at the new Arkham Asylum, fakes the murder of a police officer so he can check out the situation from the inside. It's an exciting peak inside the new facility -- Arkham, after all, has achieved almost character status over the years. Now it's run by Jeremiah Arkham, the latest in the line of "corrective" behaviorists ... and, as usual, it seems there might be a madman running the madhouse.

Arkham's theory on treatment is extreme and, dare I say it, quite maddening. (At the same time, however, it stretches believability to think he'd admit and treat the Batman without ever lifting his mask.)

Even more interesting is the new villain Zsasz, a serial killer to rival the likes of Joker and Two-Face among Batman's arch-foes. But Zsasz isn't up to pranks and he doesn't use colorful gimmicks in his crimes; he's a killer, pure and simple, with a keen intellect to match wits with the Bat.

The Last Arkham is still a good read that gets you there at the beginning of some key players in the Batman mythos.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 17 May 2003

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