Is Batman insane? Probably. He spends his nights beating criminals with his fists. And by criminals, I mean anyone he personally deems unfit. This is what makes The Last Arkham so interesting. Even if you see Batman as a pure hero, it is hard not to wonder: what if he were in Arkham Asylum himself?
It happens in Batman: The Shadow of the Bat, a series from 1992 (Affiliate Link). Jeremiah Arkham inherited the asylum from his uncle and decides to cut the fat out of the asylum, destroying everything. He reminiscences about the time when he noticed that he had a natural intuition about what drives insane people. As an escapee held a shotgun in his face, ready to kill him, he said all the right things to bring him to tears.
But here is the twist: we discover in the first issue that Batman is in Arkham Asylum himself. Naturally, he refuses to admit he belongs there. But the doctor himself wholeheartedly disagrees. So who is right, who is telling the truth? Well it turns out (spoiler alert) that Batman was planted there by Commissioner Gordon (who else?) to investigate Victor Zsasz. The funny part? Jeremiah Arkham has knowledge of this and heavily messes with Batman. What is even better is that when Victor Zsasz gets wind of this, he messes with Jeremiah’s mind, who proceeds to mess with Batman’s mind even more.
How much, you ask? A lot. To the point where Batman is coerced into fighting other inmates like the Joker and Mad Hatter. So things get interesting for sure. Writer Alan Grant was on point with this one. The Lask Arkham fits perfectly into his dark and gritty world of DC’s Gotham. Throw in a splash of psychopath Victor Zsasz and you have a winner. When you have a chance, read this graphic novel for sure.