Batman Arkham: Hugo Strange

batman arkham hugo strange cover trade paperback tpb
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 8/10

An underused Batman villain

Weird collection of issues

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Detective Comics (Volume 1)/Detective Comics (Volume 3)/Batman (Volume 1)/Batman:  Gotham Knights

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer:  Bill Finger/Steve Englehart/Gerry Conway/Doug Moench/Devin Grayson/Steve Orlando/James Tynion IV

Artist:  Bob Kane/Marshall Rogers/Marshal Rogers/Don Newton/Denys Cowan/Roger Robinson/Andy MacDonald

# of Issues: 10

Release Date: 2018

detective comics #36 cover 1st hugo strange

Detective Comics (1) #36

Reprints Detective Comics (1) #36, 471-472, Batman (1) #356, Batman (1) Annual #10, Batman:  Gotham Knights #8-11, and Detective Comics (3) #942 (February 1940-December 2016).  Professor Hugo Strange has an obsession…Batman.  He wants to know everything about him, why he is the way he is, who he is, and what makes him tick.  Most of all, Hugo Strange wants to be Batman, and he will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.  With a genius intelligence and the keys to figure out Batman’s secret identity, Professor Hugo Strange could be Batman’s greatest enemy by breaking him mentally.

Written by Bill Finger, Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, Doug Moench, Devin Grayson, Steve Orlando, and James Tynion IV, Batman Arkham:  Hugo Strange is a DC Comics collection.  The issues feature art by Bob Kane, Marshall Rogers, Marshal Rogers, Don Newton, Denys Cowan, Roger Robinson, and Andy MacDonald, and issues in the collection were also included in Batman:  The Golden Age—Volume 1, Tales of the Batman:  Steve Englehart, Batman:  Gotham Knights—Transference, Batman—Detective Comics 1:  Night of the Monster Men, and Batman:  Detective Comics Rebirth Deluxe Edition—Book 1 among others.

The Batman Arkham series is fun especially when it gets to some of these more fringe Batman characters.  Hugo Strange has been around almost as long as Batman, but it feels like until especially recently, he’s been underused.  It is nice to finally see Hugo Strange get his dues…but because of the character’s publication history, the collection is a bit odd.

Hugo first appeared in Detective Comics (1) #36 in February of 1940.  He was barely used and popped up on occasion.  He then returned with a force and sought to really crush Batman to become Batman.  Constantly dressing in Batman’s uniform, it was always odd that this guy with glasses and beard (and sometimes drawn as not the fittest person) keeps trying to pass as Batman.  Like most of Batman’s villains, he’s insane, but he is a much better plotter with a bigger picture in general (as seen in the Batman Annual where he completely crushes Bruce’s finances).

detective comics #471 cover review hugo strange

Detective Comics (1) #471

The problem with a character like Hugo Strange is that in clumps like this, you see his repetitive nature.  While someone like a Joker is consistently mad or characters like the Riddler always posing puzzles, the stories surrounding their pranks and crimes change.  Hugo seems to want the same thing every time and goes about it in a similar method by threatening Wayne’s identity.  It was kind of interesting to see him essentially face off against Dick Grayson in the Batman:  Gotham Knights series, but it would be good to see him paired with some other DC superheroes on occasion.

The last problem with this type of collection is a finale.  With comics always continuing, the story of Hugo Strange won’t end with this volume.  The collection simply chose his more recent appearance in Detective Comics to round out the title, but it is an incomplete story and you are kind of thrown into it.  While it comes down to a Hugo Strange story in the end, it feels like you miss a lot of the context and that you are just reading a random issue.

Batman Arkham:  Hugo Strange is kind of what you’d expect from a collection of this character, and it is nice to see someone other than Batman’s normal rogue gallery take center stage on occasion.  I wish that they could figure out more to do with this character since I liked his appearances in shows like Gotham and video games like the Arkham Asylum series.  Hugo Strange has tons of potential…but it is very hard to tap into it.

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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