In the last issue we learned that the new Gotham Knight that terrorized Batman these past issues is none other than Astrid Arkham, daughter of Dr. Arkham. In Detective Comics 1004 we step back in time to see how Astrid grew into this Dark Knight parallel.
Detective Comics 1004: Cover To Cover
The two covers for this issue are cool. The main cover is of the Arkham Knight as she frees the inmates of Arkham with Batman entangled in chains behind her. It has little to do with the story but represents different parts of it. Also, the lower point of view angle makes the Arkham Knight very statuesque. The secondary cover, while again meaningless to the issue, is a magnificent cover of Gotham’s greatest heroes.
Birth of a Villian In Detective Comics
Astrid’s origin story reminds me of Harvey Dent and his signature line from The Dark Knight. Dent always said “Either you die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” While not entirely true with Astrid, it comes pretty close as Astrid is not the good that becomes corrupted. Rather she is the offspring of the good.
Her story in Detective Comics 1004 starts with her mother falling in love with Dr Arkham, but of course working in Arkham Asylum isn’t the safest job in Gotham. The inmates actually liked Astrid’s mom as well, but a new inmate starts throwing Batman’s batarangs and sends two through Clayface to kill Astrid’s mother. Grundy kills the new inmate, and the inmates are so grief stricken they return to their cells on their own.
Dr Arkham keeps Astrid close. While this sounds good, it means Astrid grows up in Arkham with the inmates. Not only that, she falsley learns Batman killed her mother. A fact Dr Arkham never corrects. Astrid then trains and learns all she can to defeat the Batman. The last part of Detective Comics 1004 is simply Astrid mustering her forces for the battle to begin next issue.
A Worthy Opponent Or Throwaway Villain?
It really is an interesting backstory and one i hope sets up some conflict for issues to come. I do not like seeing enemies set up like this only to have them taken down in a couple issues. It makes potentially powerful new enemies look inept and weak. I’d like to see this new villain last awhile.
The Arkham Knight feels very close to a Bane type villain. Bane was not only a fierce fighter, but intelligent enough to know how to weaken the Batman first. The AK has researched Batman and knows his weapons as well as Bruce does. It would be nice if the B cover for Detective Comics 1004 was a foreshadowing of things to come.