Top positive review
Batman by way of H.P. Lovecraft
Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2017
I always thought it was funny that the Batman series has an Arkham Asylum, considering that Arkham plays such a big role in many of H.P. Lovecraft's works. When I really started getting into Lovecraft's writings (when I was in college really, though I've been a fan of batman since childood of course) I can remember thinking that it would be so cool if Lovecraft's Arkham was the same as Batman's Arkham . . . and lo and behold, I stumble across this gem of a comic.
Mike Mignola has done a brilliant job of melding the two universes. I feel that since it is a comic book, he lets the comic influences stand a bit stronger than the Lovecraft influences, but in no way is this a detriment to the overall product. Probably the best thing I can say about this comic is that I really didn't like the ending at first. I know, that doesn't sound like the best praise, but hang with me for a second.
The first time I read pretty much any of Lovecraft's works, I generally do not 'like' the ending. He occasionally leaves stories without solid closure, sometimes he features main characters that end the story dead/insane/missing/etc, and sometimes the 'hero' will straight up fail. This subverts the expectations that our society tries to force into most of the media we consume. Most movies/tv shows/comic books/books in general have a happy (or a least a bittersweet) ending. Sure there are some examples that contradict this, but usually they are panned and only truly appreciated by smaller groups willing to give them a chance. And I, like many people today, have gotten used to these expectations. So it should not be a surprise that the endings Lovecraft presents would not be immediately appreciated, but when I allow myself to think about them for a while (and occasionally go back and re-read the stories) I usually find that I appreciate them more and more, until I outright love them.
The Doom that came to Gotham did the exact same thing for me. The ending is very unusual, very not what I expected. Without giving anything away, the story is wrapped up well but the progression made by certain characters and the state that they are left in at the end definitely threw me for a loop. Initially I was very unhappy with the result, but the more I thought about it, the more I came to feel that it was actually a very Lovecraftian ending.
If you are a fan of both Batman and Lovecraft, this comic was tailor made for you.