Field Notes: Batman Arkham City, End Game

Spoilers for Batman: Arkham City End Game follow

Batman: Arkham City End Game has been the most rewarding of the extended storied around the Arkham-verse that I’ve read. The art style and story shine and add to the overall Arkham experience by not just giving you more to know about the characters, but by making you feel more for them as well.

With how many twists Arkham City had and how devious the Joker had been set up to be this comic had to be written in order to show that the he was actually gone. And how is that final end portrayed?

End Game page
Image courtesy of IGN

There’s only one way to go to make sure someone’s really dead – incinerator.

The art style – more than the other Arkham comics I’ve read – has an impact on the mood of the story, giving it a mystical and solemn vibe.

Another positive is we see Batman working through what happened (as much as we ever will). His thoughts on the Joker’s passing and the tie-ins with Arkham Asylum (“the gallows” and the Joker’s “library”) give us a retrospective Dark Knight while End Game keeps its own plot moving.

The Joker is in all his vile glory, cleverly setting a trap for Batman postmortem. We also get a connection to a past July 4th celebration in a blacked out Gotham where more of Joker’s evil was put on display; the man knows depravity.

Yet it’s the same flashback that provides the tie-in to the current story where Joker’s end game involves irony and a small, dark room in the basement of Arkham Asylum. It was a great set up, however much like the end of the Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC we have Batman getting out of it alive because … he’s Batman. There’s no way someone could survive, but he miraculously does and it’s not explained.

End Game

It doesn’t have to be, but it hits me as a little cheesy. This doesn’t take away from the comic however, as “Batman being Batman” should be taken for granted by now.

This is a good time to mention that the nods to the Harley DLC was helpful were well done, just a passing comment or two but a reminder that those events happened and had meaning for the characters.

Bringing it to a close with Joker’s line of:

If I’m dead, then why wouldn’t you be?

This is a great one-liner to show the deranged clown’s perspective and you can even modify it to “why shouldn’t you be?” to get his direction for End Game’s story.

If you can explain what’s going on in one line it doesn’t guarantee a good tale, but in this case it absolutely rings true. If you have any interest in the Arkham-verse you should enjoy Batman: Arkham Asylum End Game immensely.

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