Since 2011 (see "Confessions Of A Comic Book Guy --See The Wizard"), I've routinely raised the notion that seeing as how asylums had been replaced by psychiatric hospital decades ago, and it was well past the time for DC to retire Arkham Asylum and replace it with a mental health facility more reflective of the real world. Not that I ever thought they ever actually do it; Arkham Asylum is a recognizable, popular brand as well as a nice little earner for Warner Bros. Discovery. Nobody seems to want to mess with the earners.
Well, much to my surprise, DC seems to be doing just that. I usually keep a pretty close eye on the comics solicitations, but I have to confess, lately, I’ve been missing stuff; A lot of stuff. For example, in Infinite Frontier #0, Arkham Asylum was “wrecked by an explosion...following a massive chemical attack seemingly carried out by the Joker.” I also missed a follow-up to those events in the Arkham mini-series Arkham City: The Order of the World; issue #3 shipped this week.
In “The Meager Man” written by Mariko Tamaki and Matthew Rosenberg and drawn by David Lapham, we discover that Doctor Chase Meridian is in charge of Arkham Tower, the character played by Nicole Kidman in the movie Batman Forever. In the story, she says all the right things about Gotham City having a mental illness epidemic and wanting to actually treat her patients instead of warehousing them.
I have my doubts DC actually has the fortitude to follow through with these changes in the long term; for starters, it’s part of an upcoming event. As the comic informs us, “Arkham Tower Rises In Shadows Of The Bat, Beginning In Detective Comics #1047! A Weekly Detective Comics Event Beginning This January!” And in Batman comics, "event" is synonymous with some kind of large-scale disaster. I’m left to wonder just how long it will be until Arkham Towers suffers an inmate revolt, blows up, or burns down.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.