In the latest Annual issue of Batman, we find Bruce trying to break out of Arkham Asylum while facing yet another enemy that he has inadvertently created, causing him to face his past.

There is no real “bad guy” in this story, as both sides fighting here have it pretty rough. The story itself actually follows a new orderly who has just begun his first night at Arkham, and is full of hope and the ambition to help people through his work. After only spending two hours here, he finally encounters none other than the Batman, who has been hired by Dr. Arkham to test their new “Tartarus Wing” by breaking out of it. While Batman easily clears each stage of this updated labyrinth, the orderly stumbles across Arkham Asylum’s very first patient: The Anchoress. 

The Anchoress is a woman who can use “quantum tunneling” to basically walk through walls and objects as she pleases, but has been locked inside a cell made of anticonductor diodes in order to prevent this. Her powers were, of course, the result of a freak accident, but being the first patient at Arkham, she actually had requested to be admitted there so she could receive help. To the Anchoress, the Asylum was a beacon of hope where she could get treatment and safety from the outside world- that is, until the Batman started filling it with all kinds of criminals and monsters. To the Anchoress, the Batman has invaded her home and violated it, turning her rapture into hell. The orderly calmly listens to her story, but when she hears that the Batman has returned to Arkham, she vows to make sure he atones for his sins and will never leave again. 

For comic book fans who’ve been reading the New 52 issues of Batman since its launch a couple years ago, this issue has several payoffs and some nice allusions to previous storyline arcs that simply make you glad you picked up this Annual. In fact, the story itself is a spin off of Zero Year, the most recent arc that Scott Snyder, current writer for Batman, just finished. However, it is still a great standalone story that we believe you can still pick up even if you haven’t been up to date with the comics. 

Compared to last year’s Batman Annual #1, this one is much better as it is meant to be a more emotional story, where practically everyone has it rough and inevitably have to collide with each other. It just goes to show that you can’t become Batman without making an infinite number of enemies. Amongst all of this pain that Batman and the Anchoress endure, it is the orderly who remains steadfast as the symbol of hope, and consistently reminds both parties that not all is lost, and all can still be saved. The only downsides to this issue is that the plot is so loosely based off of Zero Year, that it almost has nothing to do with that storyline, and could easily have stemmed from a different story. Also, we only get to see so much of the Tartarus Wing before the plot moves along, and it would’ve been nice to see some of the crazy contraptions that Dr. Arkham came up with. Regardless, it’s still a good story that moves along at a relatively good pace and introduces another titular character to Arkham Asylum’s list.

Also, SPOILERS: Batman is forced to go through yet ANOTHER mind-fuck. Seriously, how much damage can this dude take before he needs to be admitted to Arkham as well??

It’s not the best Scott Snyder has to offer, but Batman Annual #2 is still worth picking up whether you’re a dedicated fan, or just someone who wants to pick up a Batman comic (but chances are, this issue will intrigue you to read up more).


-The A7 Team

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