REVIEW: ‘Arkham City: The Order of the World,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 is a horror comic published by DC Comics. Written by Dan Watters, with art by DaNi. The color artist is Dave Stewart, and the letters are from Aditya Bidikar.

With Arkham Asylum gone and most of those that resided in it dead, there are many patients still living within the city. While some are frightened or peaceful, others are there to cause harm. 

In this issue, Dr. Joy visits the recovering Stone in hospital. They discuss their philosophies and the sick city they live in. The Ten-Eyed Man’s rituals in her apartment are getting darker and more dangerous. She finds him out in the city again, leading her to a graveyard, and he has found another Arkham escapee, Solomon Grundy. 

The mood of this comic continues to unsettle. There is a slow pace inside Arkham City: The Order of the World #3, which refuses to release the reader from the tension. We are also utterly bewildered about where the issue is taking us. After some exposition and connection with the previous issue, the characters are off hunting another target. Finding the Arkhamites is the mission, but it isn’t moving fast enough. Instead, it is more of a chronicle for that to be the final goal. There is a mystery that runs through the plot, one that strikes at the very beginning of the creation of Arkham Asylum.

This is a book featuring several beautiful characters. The protagonist, Dr. Joy, feels unique within a story such as this. What sets her apart from others who lead a DC Comic, Joy isn’t a confrontational person. She is looking for the Arkhamites to try and help them. But when doing so in the Asylum, she was safe behind glass or cell walls. Here, these figures have the power, and she can only watch. In many ways, she is a passenger simply following whatever the patients want to do. 

Alongside her for much of the issue is the Ten-Eye Man, who may contend for the title of creepiest DC villain to date. He is unpredictable, and his powers are unknown. We don’t understand the rules of what he is capable of, which makes him even more dangerous. We only receive glimpses of what he does and has done, mentioned of removing jaws and rituals. When Dr. Joy tries to stick up for herself in this comic against Ten-Eye, there is a nervousness that starts to set in. 

But it isn’t just the amazing human characters that shine in this series. It is the metaphysical, larger personalities that are deliciously depicted. One is Arkham Asylum itself. Even after its destruction, the ramifications of what it stood for and who it housed have spread further than its walls. Everything that the readers know about the history of the Arkham family from other series. Watters takes Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum, the Batman games, and even parts of recent issues to enrich a historical but tainted name in Gotham.

Speaking of Gotham, the other important character inside Arkham City: The Order of the World #3. This city and the people within it have been peripheral in nearly every Batman and various other heroes’ comics for decades. The little glimpses of what the other Arkhamites are up to have been beautifully written but horrifying at times. 

Like the writing, DaNi’s art has been unique, unforgettable, and disturbing. The rough and uneven lines make it seem like nothing is safe or secure. There are holes in the wall, deep shadows, and shapes that can be misleading. It is the shadows on the objects that actually provide the definition. In comics such as Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy is presented as an almost adorable zombie. Here, he is a nightmarish behemoth that puts Frankenstein to shame. And the contorting Ten-Eye with eyes on the tips of his fingers is pure body-horror perfection.

The colors in this comic are stunning. DaNi and Stewart are striking up a terrific partnership, complementing each other superbly. Without the coloring style, the artwork doesn’t work, and vice versa. The colors provide the structure to objects, often acting as outlines, and this allows for the black lines to create such accurate and distinct facial expressions. Instead of existing separately, the line art and the colors work as a brilliant singular unit.

The lettering is another part of the design that has been adjusted to it the genre of the comic. Each of the individual Arkhamites has its unique style. The curved nature of many of the word balloons adds a queasiness to the dialogue.

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 is a fascinating journey. The art style makes it unlike most comics, existing in a world of its own.  It’s an experience, a trip through a city full of beautifully twisted and tragic figures. It is at this juncture that it feels like a spiritual successor to the Morrison comic, but it perfectly stands up for itself too.

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Arkham City: The Order of the World #3
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TL;DR

Arkham City: The Order of the World #3 is a fascinating journey. The art style makes it unlike most comics, existing in a world of its own.  It’s an experience, a trip through a city full of beautifully twisted and tragic figures.