Its been such a long time since I last played Batman: Arkham Asylum that it feels like a distant memory. What I do remember is that the game quite rightly blew the cobwebs out of my (and probably yours too) perceived views on comic book adaptations being lazy cash-ins.
Roll on now, and Batman Arkham Asylum 2 is due for a late 2011 launch and its shaping up to be bigger and better than its predecessor. Not ones to rest on their laurels though, Rocksteady Studios and DC Comics are teaming up for a comic book mini series as part of the pre-relase campaign.
Written by Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini (who also penned both Arkham games) and drawn by Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City concept artist Carlos D’anda, BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY picks up one year after the original game, where former Arkham Warden turned newly elected Mayor of Gotham City Quincy Sharp has decided to close down the infamous institution. In its stead, he establishes “Arkham City,” the new maximum security “home” for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, inmates can roam free and do whatever they want as long as they don’t try to escape. To run this urban prison, Sharp has appointed Dr. Hugo Strange, a man who knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman.
Each issue of the mini-series will be available day-and-date digitally worldwide for $2.99 each. These releases will alternate with eight-page digital-first interludes that will expand on the story included in the miniseries. Written by Dini and drawn by a variety of artists, these digital stories will focus on The Dark Knight’s many enemies as they vie for power in this new city within a city. Each eight-page digital-first interlude will be available for .99 cents, releasing in between issues of the mini-series, and will later be included in print in the BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY collected edition.
If digital print isn’t your thing, then you will also be able to get hold of a copy (eventually) in the old school pulpy fashion too.
“The digital first stories offer a unique incentive for fans to experience interesting and exciting stories beyond the pages in the printed comic,” said Jim Lee, DC Comics Co-Publisher, “The additional pages will serve as interludes within the regular issues and won’t be necessary to follow the main story of the mini-series. Fans will also be able to read these interludes in print later, when we publish the collected edition.”
Read the comic before you play the game, and keep an eye out for the issue #1 variant cover, utilising in-game graphics. Batman: Arkham City will double-ship in its first month, with issues #1 & #2 landing in May which gives you a good couple of months to read it before the game ships much later in the year.