Arkham Asylum: Madness

arkham asylum madness cover trade paperback joker
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 9/10

Love Sam Keith Art

Story isn't always easy to follow

Comic Info

Comic Name: Arkham Asylum:  Madness

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Sam Keith

Artist: Sam Keith

Release Date: 2010

arkham asylum madness sam keith art joker

The Joker doesn’t play around…

Sabine Robbins hates her job.  Every day she leaves her husband and child and enters Arkham Asylum where she spends the day counting down the hours until the end of her shift.  Arkham has a way of getting into people’s heads and sometimes the patients in Arkham Asylum aren’t the only ones who get a little crazy.  Joker is up to his normal tricks and he has plans for the nurses, guards, doctors, and orderlies of Arkham.  Sabine is about to experience twenty-four hours in Arkham Asylum and she may never come back again if she leaves at all.

Written and illustrated by Sam Keith, Arkham Asylum:  Madness is a DC Comics graphic novel.  The stand-alone story originally was released in hardback but then received a trade paperback release.

Sam Keith has a real style, and I watched The Maxx TV adaptation on MTV over and over again in college after I taped it off air (pre-DVD options).  Much like Grant Morrison’s take on Arkham Asylum, Keith look at the famed home for the insane is a perfect companion piece.

The story takes an almost Astro City approach to Arkham.  When you read a Batman comic (or in general many superhero comics), you question why anyone would even work at a place like Arkham…regardless of the money (and I can’t imagine they pay a lot).  The turnover rate is huge with guards being murdered, dying, going insane, and presumably fired for all the escapes.  It is a risky job with little benefits.  Following Sabine, it is proven.  It is a crappy job with crappy hours, and even though Sabine could and should leave in the end, she decides to stay…it is like an infection that keeps her in a dangerous place even if it makes no logical sense.

arkham asylum madness sam keith harley quinn poison ivy

Harley and Ivy always have fun

Sam Keith’s art is a great choice for Arkham Asylum.  He gets both the heavily inked and dark view of the city but he also is able to add depth and character to playing pieces.  Like Dave McKean who illustrated Morrison’s Batman:  Arkham Asylum, Sam Keith makes Arkham his own, but it also feels like it perfectly fits into Batman’s world.

I do question some of Keith’s story telling approaches that sometimes are a bit tricky to follow.  He branches off Sabine a bit to the Roy character, and it feels like a distraction to Sabine’s storyline.  I also feel that Keith could have better utilized his “inmates” better to get the story told.

Arkham Asylum:  Madness is a fun quick read.  It features great art and a story that has its moments though it could have been expanded more.  While I feel Morrison’s Arkham is a bit more iconic, I don’t think fans of Batman should sleep on Sam Keith’s trip to the asylum.  It is a fun jaunt that dives into madness and its roots.

Related Links:

Batman:  Arkham Asylum

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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