Chapter 1: Animals in Cages
Amanda Waller has taken control of the recently rebuilt Arkham, and her brutal tactics and merciless methods have led to the most secure asylum Gotham has ever known.
But when the cell doors open, and the inmates are left in a freefor-all deathmatch, Waller’s true intentions reveal themselves: identify the strongest, smartest, and most brutal to serve her on Task Force X.
Geek DadSo far, it doesn’t seem like the Suicide Squad is a thing yet, but the pieces are falling into place. It’s all setup, for sure, but it also seems like Layman is elevating the material in a compelling way.
The Comicbook DispatchMy final thoughts are rather simple for Suicide Squad: Kill Arkham Asylum #1. If you’re a fan of the Arkham Games, then pick this series up to see where it goes. However, be forewarned that nothing really transpires this month. No plot is truly revealed and the direction is left open-ended. We know the characters and the setting… but that’s it. If anything, this issue is almost skippable in that sense and thus might be better read in conjunction with the second issue or eventually in trade. I’m not implying that this series is terrible or that you shouldn’t get it. However, what I am saying is that nothing legitimately happens. It’s almost as if you set up the board game Clue, didn’t go over the rules, and walked away until tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow when you come back, explain the rules, and start to play the game, everyone will be excited. But it’s just a bit difficult to get excited for it right now.
Comic WatchSuicide Squad: Kill Arkham Asylum #1 does an excellent job of capturing elements from the games into a comic book medium.
Dark Knight NewsHonestly, Suicide Squad: Kill Arkham Asylum #1 delivers a solid start to the prequel series. Layman gives us enough of a backstory without bogging us down with the intricate details. We get to know everything we need to, and the issue ends on a story beat that will make you want to keep reading. I look forward to seeing how the series progresses.
Major SpoilersHaving not played Batman: Arkham Games or any of the previous Rocksteady titles, I expected to be out of my element, but Suicide Squad: Kill Arkham Asylum! #1 is a complete horror show, bleak and populated with all-too-human monsters, with muddy art that tries to join the video game experience to a more traditional comic book story, with mixed results. If the darkness, death, and grinding, endless nihilism are your bag, this may be the book for you, but when a shark-monster beheading a serial killer is the most comedic part of the comic book, I’m out.
Batman-NewsFor players of Kill The Justice League, this first issue isn’t necessary to pick up before playing. Apart from a few new bits of information, it provides no satisfying connection with the Rocksteady Arkham universe and an even less satisfying self-contained story. However, the look and humor of the book is decent. While overloaded with exposition that has to use smaller font to fit within the word bubbles, the rough inks give the illustrations a passable but gritty punk look. Unfortunately, the book is unsubtle, ugly, wordy, and frankly ridiculous. Ultimately, skip it if you have to, but pick it up if you feel the need.
ComicBook.comIt's not unheard of that a superhero tie-in comic book supporting a film or video game release will defy expectations and carve out a well-crafted story, but that's certainly not the case for Suicide Squad: Kill Arkham Asylum #1 – a prequel to last week's much-maligned release of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. The story plays out like paint-by-numbers with familiar characters and plot points being quickly checked off in an arrival sequence that does little except remind readers what they already know. Whether it's Batman, Waller or the four key members of this team, they are defined as caricatures without any exaggerated humor or violence to make those caricatures effective. When King Shark finally makes a kill after pages of building tension, it's a dull image offered without a punchline. Much of what's depicted at Arkham Asylum may be characterized as dull with generically imposing concrete structures making it a blandly awful place to exist and most of the figures inside only vaguely resembling humanoids. Killer Croc appears like a misshapen lump of green play-doh throughout much of the issue. It may be obvious why Kill Arkham Asylum is being produced, but it's unclear who might actually enjoy a story that lacks all of the merits that made Rocksteady's DC-related games so popular to begin with.