The Batman: Arkham games from developer Rocksteady are regarded as not only the best Batman games ever made, but excellent Batman tales in their own right. It's no surprise then that DC is looking to promote the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight game, which will serve as the grand finale to the trilogy, with a new prequel comic series. 

With all the success DC has found releasing digital-first prequel comics, many of them based on video game properties, it only makes sense for the Batman: Arkham Knight  series to follow. Issue #1 is out now, with subsequent issues releasing every Friday. It's still early to call, but if the comic isn't careful it has the potential to hurt the game's storyline, rather than help. Read on for the full review.

Spoilers for Batman: Arkham City below. If you have yet to finish the game (hurry up!), best avoid this review.

That spoiler tag is there for a reason. Seriously. Turn back now if you don't want the end spoiled. Okay, still here?

Arkham Knight #1 begins in the final moments of Arkham City, as Batman has stopped Hugo Strange's plan to kill all the criminals housed within the walls of Arkham City. The Joker is dead, killed by the disease that plagued him throughout the course of the game. Batman carries his lifeless body out of the Monarch Theatre and leaves it with the authorities before gliding off.

It's here where Arkham City ends and Arkham Knight begins. Moments after leaving, Batman encounters a new foe that isn't about to let him turn in after a hard night's work. A brief but brutal fight breaks out, and Batman returns to Wayne Manor.

Enter: The Arkham Knight. The mysterious new villain from which the game takes its name makes an early appearance here. We know little about him -- except that he means business. He broods about how Batman's fear-tactics won't work on him and claims to be somebody close to Batman. In many ways he seems to be an anti-Batman, even looking like a more high-tech version of the Dark Knight, minus the cape. We get to see just how brutal Arkham Knight can be in this first issue. Perhaps his character might be responsible for Arkham Knight's Mature rating?

Bruce returns to the Manor and is patched up by Alfred, who gives him the usual "you are going to kill yourself, why not stop being Batman?" spiel. It's the standard Alfred speech, and Bruce pretends to listen as reads about the Arkham City clean-up. That clean-up process happens to include figuring out what to do with Joker's body.

What follows is sure to have you anxiously waiting for issue #2. If you've completed Arkham City, you know that the game's ending is tragic, poetic and powerful all at the same time. Joker is slowly dying from a disease throughout the game. In the final moments, as Batman contemplates curing the Clown Prince with an antidote, Joker lashes out, causing the vial to shatter and with it Joker's last chance at survival. Batman tells his longtime foe that in spite of all the harm Joker has done over the years, he would have cured him. There was no need for Joker to try and take it by force. Joker laughs at the irony before taking his final breath.

While it doesn't look like Batman: Arkham Knight will be undoing Joker's death (yet, at least), it is still hard to shake the feeling that perhaps writer Peter J. Tomasi shouldn't meddle with such a fantastic conclusion. Where all this is going isn't known at this point, but he will have to tread carefully as to not undo some of the great moments that came before.

Arkham Knight #1 sets the stage nicely for what is sure to be one of the year's biggest game releases with some solid artwork and an intriguing new villain. If it can manage to add more detail to the world of Rocksteady's games without stepping on their toes, it should make for an entertaining appetizer while Batman fans wait for the main course.

Story

★★★☆☆

Art

★★★☆☆

Overall

★★★☆☆

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