Arkham City: The Order of the World #1 is the first part of a mini-series written by DC Comics. Written by Dan Watters. The artist is Dani, with colours by Dave Stewart. The letterer is Aditya Bidikar.
Months ago, Joker broke into Arkham Asylum and committed a massacre. Most of those inside were killed, but those that weren’t have escaped into Gotham. Dr. Joy is the last of the Psychologists still alive and is part of the task force looking for the escaped patients. But the people she is with are losing their empathy for the escapees, and some of the more dangerous criminals are causing havoc in the city.
The premise of the series is fantastic. Framed as a horror story instead of the action of a thriller, this is evident from the very first page. Dr. Joy comes to the aid of a little girl who has a monster under her bed. It is a superb cold open that sets the stage for the comic. There are frequent twists and all are unexpected. Someone else is hunting the patients and will be a bigger threat to them than anything Dr. Joy and her allies have at their disposal.
One of the fascinating aspects of this first issue is the characters that appear within it. Arkham was a treasure trove of possible foes for the series. There are the serial killers, the petty thieves, and the superpowered. What they are up to since they have escaped is also captivating. Just the prelude has deeply disturbing hints. Others don’t appear to be dangerous at all, living their own lives. Perhaps the most famous figure in this comic is the Mad Hatter, relying on these cult beings to be the unsettling antagonists.
As a protagonist. Joy is superb. She is not Batman or Nightwing or even The Question. She is a doctor and vehemently wants to help the patients. Her partner in this case is Detective Stone. He just wants the inmates captured or dead, so long as they are taken off the streets. They will serve will work well together as a duo, as there is mistrust between the partnership already. The dialogue is long, with a poetic flow to it. The narration is eloquent and is a key piece of a twist. All of the escapees shown in Arkham City: The Order of the World #1 have their own distinct voices when they speak, and some of them are capable of terrifying things.
The art is unique, with the style intrinsically linked to the colours. On each page, there is a single colour that serves as the base. The line art and other colours are then added to that colour, as opposed to the other way around. People and things lack outlines, with their features denoting where they are instead. Big, thick line-weights help create details that can appear to shift when you stare at them. This style by Dani is new and one of a kind, which means it takes some getting used to. The character designs are fantastic as faces are constructed with this alternate method.
The colours are incredibly important in this comic. The base colour for the pages changes as the issue progresses. It isn’t slight tints either; they are stark, powerful shades of blue or green or red. On top of them are different tones that make up the detail of the page. It seems like the colours are the details in this book, which is a fascinating style choice.
The lettering is really well constructed for the dialogue, fitting the genre and art style of the comic. However, the faux-handwritten font used in a journal during the narration may be difficult to read at times, as beautiful as it looks.
Arkham City: The Order of the World #1 is a creepy and brilliant start. Despite being connected to so many different characters and corners, this is a series that appears like it takes place within its own confines. Horror works best when those inside it are up against it and isolated, and this provides that atmosphere. The escapees, although well known, aren’t these big names that may be too domineering over the book. Instead, this is a collection of smaller figures that are still absolutely stunning creations. With so many possible branches this story could take, and with a unique art style by the incredible Dani, this book is perfect for Halloween.
Arkham City: The Order of the World #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Arkham City: The Order of the World #1
Arkham City: The Order of the World #1 is a creepy and brilliant start.