Monday, August 13, 2012


Writing Arkham Unhinged is very much a give-and-take situation. There are certain stories that Rocksteady and DC wanted to flesh out better. And then there were stories where I'd get to randomly come up with ideas wholecloth on my own. For this issue, I believe it was more of the former.

The Abramovichi twins were henchmen created in the game, serving two different rival bosses. There was some backstory for them provided in the game bios. But they were interested in doing a story that retold their origin and how each of them ended up working for opposite rivals.

Not Hush quite yet!

I was always looking for a chance to have more connections to characters throughout the game, even if it was never implied or discussed. And since the twins would be surgically separated before Arkham City took place, it was a chance to show how that happened and who did the operation. And it was a chance to tie it in with Hush, or in this case, Thomas Elliot. This would be before Tommy adopted the Hush moniker, back when he was still a doctor. And having come from working on two Dini written Hush projects (Detective Comics "Heart Of Hush" and Streets Of Gotham "House Of Hush"), his character was still very fresh in my mind. That the first Arkham Asylum game even had the easter egg in there with Tommy's name on staff at Arkham was a nice way to work him into the timeline of this story. If anybody would be able to do the operation to separate the twins, it would be him…willingly or forced.

Hush also got a tiny cameo in our previous "Surgeon's General" story as well, for those who happened to spot him. Hush was always tough to find a way to use in any story, since his appearance in the game was in such a small time frame. Batman never saw him until he was able to track him down. And once found, Hush made his escape and Batman would have other matters to attend to and would deal with him later.


Zsasz would also prove to be a hard character to work into stories, due to the subject matter involved. So he was always limited to cameo appearances like in this story, where Joker was involved with seeking a surgeon to perform the operation on the twins. Zsasz wasn't the type to work well with others.

Seeing Juan draw him in a fine shirt and tie gives off an even creepier vibe, since we're not used to seeing him in such formal clothes. He's usually only ever portrayed, especially in the games, in very limited prison wear to show off all those self-inflicted scars on his body.

Also this story would give me a chance to use Nightwing. It was always tough trying to find ways to use Nightwing and Robin, just due to the limitations of Arkham City itself. The game takes place over one long night with Batman locked inside. And aside from Robin making his brief appearance in the game…for the most part, those two characters were confined to being locked out of Arkham City and stuck in Gotham on their own.

As much as I wanted to try to do stories outside the walls of Arkham City, the focus for Unhinged would always try to work its way back to Batman and the villains inside the walls. Of course, it just meant trying to be more clever in how we could work Nightwing and Robin into stories when it called for it. Sometimes in flashback. And other ways still to come.

Since the Abramovichi twins come from a sideshow background, it only made sense to bring in Nightwing with Dick Grayson's own background growing up in the circus. He would've heard stories or come across them at some point in his previous life.

There was always some confusion or question on why Harley would just give one of the twins to their rival, the Penguin. But I always saw it as Harley is well known for not always thinking things out. When Joker left it up to her to dispose of the body any way she saw fit, she thought it a lark to dump him on Penguin's doorstep at the Iceberg Lounge. It would be another way to humiliate him in front of his clientele, probably thinking the twin was as good as dead…never thinking it would actually work against them when the twin survived to become Penguin's new henchman.

We were lucky to get Juan Jose Ryp as artist on this story. I first recall coming across his work, mainly from his runs at Avatar Press (Robocop and Black Summer). Definitely wearing his Geof Darrow influences on his sleeve with his incredibly detailed style. He'd just completed a run of Marvel work and was briefly available to work on this story before moving onto his upcoming creator owned work. So the timing worked out great to have him draw this, and I enjoyed seeing his Joker among other interpretations. Also noted, Dave Wilkins continues his run of supplying us with great covers!

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