Thursday, September 13, 2012


Sometimes a story is born out of wanting to see a very specific grudge match. This issue came down to a very simple thing I wanted to see…Solomon Grundy vs. Bane. You never get to see two really big bruisers go at it in the game, so I thought from a fun visual standpoint, I wanted to build a story around how we could get these two guys in the room together and throw down. Since they are both considered "villains", then the question was why they would be fighting each other in the first place.

As Arkham Unhinged was progressing along, there was a huge cast of characters to work through. While Batman's name is on the cover, and our main hero of the game, I also wanted to have a chance to feature some of his supporting cast. But that became the struggle working in the parameters that DC and Rocksteady gave me. That the stories would take place during the game and sometimes flashback to before the games. And since Robin (for the most part), Nightwing, Oracle, and Alfred, would all be outside the walls while Batman was inside during his long night inside Arkham City, it would be quite the trick to incorporate them into the stories when we could. But tying into an idea that Paul Dini wrote into a previous digital exclusive story, would be our opening here.

It was explained in an earlier story, that Robin had been sneaking into Arkham City to check things out, all before Batman was ever inside there. At that time, he used a forgotten tunnel to enter a flooded area of the city without being noticed. And he would find a way into the city this time as well, dropping in from above. The idea was also that this story happens in the game before Batman encounters Grundy in the museum. And we'd find a way to remove Robin before he even encountered Grundy's appearance in this story. That way, there'd be no way for Robin to know Grundy was there to tip off Batman before he sees him for the first time in the game.

As far as Bane and why he's here, again it calls back to an earlier digital exclusive story. It was one of those early stories that I wrote on my own in-between scripting over Dini's stories. I had introduced the concept of Bane having his own fight club in the city, until it was destroyed by a Titan-drugged goon. So when Bane shows up here, he's on his never ending search for more Titan, once he figures out that Penguin has people on the drug as well. Penguin also turned into a reoccurring villain in many of my Unhinged stories, for the simple fact that the guy was always great to write for…so deliciously evil in his line delivery. There are a lot of pieces in play inside Arkham City, and Penguin usually has his hands and beak in most of them.

Having Alfred bookend the story was fun. I always enjoy writing him and his dry wit. And it was a chance to briefly allude to something from the history of Batman in the comics that I could introduce here. That he and Bruce helped develop the "Matches" Malone disguise, so Bruce could infiltrate the criminal underworld. And this was a chance for Robin to follow in his footsteps to blend into Arkham City without drawing attention to himself. 

Artist Jorge Jimenez did a great job drawing so much choreography in this story. This one, more than many of the Unhinged stories, really shows off the fighting system in the game. How Robin is able to fight, parry, melee, and flip over his opponents before he beats them down. How he can use their weapons against them as he takes on multiple combatants. I know I was sending all sort of links of MMA photos to Jorge (Google Images is a handy tool for today's reference artist) to really try to encourage making Robin's fighting style in the museum look as legit as we could. Jorge pulled it off wonderfully.

And enjoy these last batch of images. Since Unhinged employed many artists for each story, DC would try out various guys. These were the sample pages that Jorge drew of Arkham City, that got him the job drawing this story...

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