Wednesday, June 26, 2013


This issue was another rare chance to spend some time with the supporting cast of Batman. The trouble with Batman being locked inside Arkham City for one long night in the game, is that it didn't allow for much interaction with the rest of his family outside of its walls. Robin showed up briefly and was gone just as quick. Alfred would be on the radio sporadically. And Nightwing, not at all. So there was always the lingering questions and comments from fans about what the rest of these characters were up to in Gotham while Batman was away. And trying to find space for a story with them that could still fit into the timeline of the game. I found my answer in how the Protocols would come into play.

As Hugo Strange activates "Protocol 10" to wipe out the criminals and the entire population of Arkham City, he also activated "Protocol 11" to self-destruct Wonder Tower. It got me thinking…what might the other nine Protocols be? And as self serving and grandiose as Hugo considered himself, with his knowledge of Batman's identity, he even talked about his plans to enter Wayne Manor. So there was our story. "Protocol 9" would be the assault on the Manor. It would be a last stand for Alfred and the boys to protect the homefront with Batman currently preoccupied trying to stop Hugo Strange inside Arkham City. And it would be a chance to show off the mansion as well as the Batcave from the DLC challenge levels in the game.

This story became a full circle moment. I hadn't known it at the time, but it would be the last story planned for me on Arkham City. And poetically fitting in the story itself, that we'd find out what happened to Captain Vincent Garrett. This was the same Captain that I scripted on my very first Arkham related story that Paul Dini and I crafted for the first digital exclusive Arkham City issue. In that one, Vincent was being interviewed and hired by Hugo Strange. And in this Unhinged issue, we see what happened to him after he served his usefulness to Hugo.
I also wanted to take the time to show Hugo's grand plan to open up other versions of Arkham City in other areas across the DC Universe. He explained it briefly in the game, but I could hint at it even more here. We see Keystone City (I only wish we could've shown more of a red blur zipping across the screen for the Flash, but we ended up with just a fast gush of wind), Coast City (we'd show the airplane hanger and airbase that Hal Jordan once worked at), and of course Metropolis. I always felt the comics could be allowed to show some of these scenes and characters that the game couldn't, but even still we were limited in what they felt we could imply.
Fabbri's art...a work in progress showing the pencils, shading, and inkwash
I thought it would be a fun twist to the reader familiar with the game, that the Tygers we'd first see in the Batcave would be a training simulation program for Robin to practice on (just like the DLC). But then the real Tygers would show up and the real assault on Wayne Manor would begin.
David Fabbri did such a beautiful job on the art for this story. I had seen his work before at Wildstorm. You could tell he spent a lot of time referencing the locations of the game in his fully realized background drawings and characters. He had this style that seemed like a mixture of pencil shading along with inkwash, that brought a real nice attention to detail. Below are just a few of his sample pages they tried him out on that got him the job to draw this story.

My final thoughts of my time on Arkham Unhinged and Arkham City, I have so many people to thank...
Paul Dini was instrumental in not only writing the first two Arkham games, but also in getting me onboard the comics. When his schedule was starting to get busy and DC wanted to bring on a scripter/co-writer for the first digital exclusive stories, Paul was the one that helped recommend me for the job. Up until that point, I was mainly just inking his stories on Detective Comics and Streets Of Gotham, but had a fun time scripting a few issues off of his plots. To my editor through the trenches, Jim Chadwick. Again, I was pretty much a writing unknown at the time (still am to some degree) when I came onboard to help co-write. And when they decided to launch Unhinged as an ongoing, much less a weekly regular title, Jim and DC showed a lot of faith in allowing me to write the project fully. To have to put out as much content as we did in such a short window of time, always under the gun, we really had to hit the ground running. Jim was patient and guiding. Giving me a lot of room to maneuver as well as keeping me in line if I strayed too far outside of the boundaries they needed. He made an extremely stressful  title very easy to proceed with. And sad once my time on it came to an end when they wanted to go in a different direction. To Shawn Kittleson and Tori Setian, who were my envoys from the gaming side of Warner Brothers. My fondest memories working on Unhinged will be my visits to the Burbank office to spend those days playing the game before it came out as they guided me through it, answering all my questions, and passing along screenshot references to the artists on my stories. To Hank Kanalz, overseeing the entire digital line of titles (which has only grown in abundance since Arkham kicked things off). To all the artists that came on and drew these stories that turned into so many of my favorites. I was introduced to so many new people and styles, got to work with artists I was already fans of (even before working in comics), and have been blessed to continue to work with a few since our time on the title.

Lastly to all the readers and game players. Thanks for your support. I immersed myself in these games leading up to the job of writing them. Playing it before it was released to the public. Reading gaming sites to find out what the fans were interested in and talking about. Getting the chance to meet some of you at convention and store signings. Getting feedback good and bad. It's been one heckuva ride!

I don't know what the future holds for the Arkham property. The new game will spawn new Arkham Origins comics, but I have no involvement in them. Yet I hope to get the chance to return to the Arkham-verse at some later date. It is such a fully realized world with a vast assortment of characters that continues to grow with each game. And there's so many more stories to tell…

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